5 Ways You Can Volunteer Your Way to a New Remote Career

5 Ways You Can Volunteer Your Way to a New Remote Career

It’s a catch-22. You want a work-at-home job, but employers want someone who has already been employed in either a remote or hybrid capacity. How can you get remote work experience if no one will give you a chance?

Volunteer Your Way to a New Remote Career With These Ideas

This is a question that many aspiring remote workers ask themselves routinely, especially when employers are unwilling to give them a chance due to a lack of experience. However, there is still a proven method to get one step closer to a remote job: volunteering. Although volunteering has traditionally been limited to onsite opportunities, the ability to do so from home has become far more popular in recent years. If your aim is to break into remote work, you can volunteer your way to a new remote career with a few of these tips and ideas.

1. Find the Right Organization

No matter what your particular interests are, you can find plenty of opportunities to volunteer through various organizations. While international organizations like the Red Cross and United Way may offer remote volunteer positions, don’t limit yourself. Local charities, libraries, and nonprofit organizations typically have open volunteer positions that may allow you to work from home, as well as regional and national organizations.

But don’t let that limit you. If you really love a particular organization but they have no work-from-home volunteer positions, find a contact within the company and ask about volunteer opportunities. With tons of work to do and volunteers moving in and out of the organization, you just might find that the company has something to offer you.

2. Try To Align Your Volunteer Position With Your Goals

In some cases, you may have to take whatever volunteer opportunity you can get, but if you put in a little extra effort and wait for the right chance, you may be able to find a job that aligns with your aspirations and goals as a remote worker.

For example, if you want to work as a virtual assistant, you could find a job doing clerical work — which might include typing emails, setting appointments, or scheduling meetings. Or if you desire to work as a digital marketer, search for jobs that include tasks such as graphic design, search engine optimization, UX/UI, or website design or development. If you have a particular angle or dream job, look for those positions in a volunteer capacity.

3. Take the Opportunity to Upskill or Reskill

Regardless of your work history, education, and experience, you have a set of skills that an employer most likely wants or needs. You just need to take those skills and build upon them to make yourself a more desirable remote worker.

In a volunteer position, you may have a unique chance to upskill or reskill. Upskilling refers to the idea of taking your present experience and learning more about it in a specific position. Reskilling, while similar, is when you learn all new skills that may also work toward your goal of working from home. Volunteering gives you the chance to do either, such as working on remote aspects of your job experience, while also giving you a moment to hone your craft.

If you’re not sure what skills you need, take a look at a job description for a remote position you want. As you read through the description, take note of skills you don’t currently have. Then, search for volunteer positions that will give you time and experience to build those skills. It’s a surefire way that you can volunteer your way to a new remote career.

4. Build on the Intangibles

Having the hard skills, experience, and insight to do a job is one thing — that’s what will most likely get you the job. But to excel in a work-from-home capacity, you need to work on the intangible skills, or soft skills, that turn you from an onsite worker into a strong remote one.

Remote work requires a bit more self-discipline, especially because you won’t have management monitoring or supervising what you do. Beyond that, use a volunteer job to build skills such as:

  • Adaptability
  • Problem-solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Organization
  • Self-starter and self-motivated
  • Time management
  • Work ethic
  • Resiliency
  • Communication, whether it’s through email, video conferencing, collaboration tools, etc.

5. Learn the Tools for the Job

No matter what remote job you’re after, you need to learn the tools of the trade. Unlike onsite work where you can physically go to a person’s office or cubicle and ask questions, working from home utilizes online tools. It’s an inevitability that you’ll have to use one or multiple tools to complete your job.

If possible, find out what tools your volunteering organization uses. For example, you may need experience in collaboration software, so if a company uses Slack or Asana, you’ve learned a valuable skill. Some other popular tools to put on your radar when you’re searching for volunteer opportunities include:

  • Canva for simple graphic design
  • WordPress, Webflow, Squarespace, Wix, or Joomla for website design — also known as content management systems
  • GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom for video conferencing
  • Calendly and Google Calendar for scheduling

If you’ve never used these tools before, don’t worry too much. Most of them come with free tutorials and are specifically designed for ease of use. Just remember: the more tools you can learn, the better chance you have to volunteer your way to a new remote career.

Go Beyond Volunteering

If you volunteer your way to a new remote career, you’ve taken a huge step in your career path, but don’t stop there. The more you can learn about remote work, the better your odds of landing a job. That’s where Virtual Vocations can help.

With a Virtual Vocations membership, you can access our handy industry guides, career center, company database, career services, and more. It’s a one-stop shop for all of the information, tips, advice, and professional help you need to catch the eye of hiring managers and land the job that can turn your aspirations into a career — even if it’s by sitting in your home office.

Have you got any volunteer work experience? How did it help you land a paid position? Connect with Virtual Vocations on FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram, and YouTube to share your thoughts and tips. We’d love to hear from you!

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