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Learning to Sell Yourself: Building Your Skills via Volunteering

February 27, 2013

Learn Lead2

You’ve probably heard this before, “volunteer experience looks great on your resume”, but what you probably aren’t aware of is that certain types of volunteer experience may look more favorable on a resume than others. This is because certain volunteer experiences utilize sets of skills that help build upon one’s professional development and demonstrate to a future employer that you are utilizing your skills in the real-world. So even though you may not be getting paid for your volunteer service, you are getting first-hand experience that apply towards your professional growth and development.

So what are those types of volunteer opportunities and how can you get involved? The answer is: SKILL-BASED VOLUNTEERING!

Why is skill-based volunteering important? There is a huge need in the nonprofit community to find skill-based volunteers. Those who possess certain skills in areas such as marketing, fundraising, construction, or health services are extremely useful for a nonprofit organization that does not have the capacity or the funding to have the expertise readily on hand. Skilled volunteers can even help by serving on nonprofit board of directors and/or offering their pro bono services.

What do you get by volunteering your skills? Well for starters, you can feel good about putting your talents to use for a good cause! Another important benefit to skilled-based volunteering is you gain more experience that you can put on your resume. Skill-based volunteering is a great way for businesses to further develop their employees professionally while giving back to the community. It’s a win-win!

How do I find a community organization that can use my skills? HandsOn Inland Empire is a great place to search for volunteer opportunities near you! Many nonprofits are looking for board members, graphic designers, web developers, and much more! Also, microvolunteering is a great way to use your skills to volunteer from the comfort of your own home. is a great resource for microvolunteering opportunities.

In addition, HandsOn Inland Empire has a new feature on its website that allows volunteers to self-report their skills by filling out their Skills Profile, located in their “My Accounts.” Volunteers are now able to list their skills with the level of proficiency and attach any certifications to their profile. In addition, volunteers can choose to accept invitations from local nonprofits that are looking for the volunteer’s set of skills. For example, if a volunteer states in his Skills Profile that he is an Expert in graphic design and accepts invitations from organizations, a local nonprofit that is looking for a volunteer to help redesign their organization’s logo could contact him directly to ask whether or not he would be willing to redesign their logo.

How to fill out your skills profile:

  • Login to and click on “My Account”
  • Click on “Skills” located in the vertical menu on the left-hand side
  • Fill out your various skills and level of proficiency and hit “Save”
    • Note: Make sure to check mark the box next to ACCEPT INVITATIONS- Would you like to allow nonprofits organizations to search for your skills, and invite you to volunteer with them for opportunities that require the skills based on your profile?”

So what are you waiting for? Get HandsOn with your skills and VOLUNTEER!


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