Volunteer work is extremely important. It’s a great way to give back to the community. And for those trying to boost their resumes or land a new job, volunteer can be an excellent stepping stone to a successful career – whether it’s in healthcare, education, or public relations.
Though might seem difficult to break into public relations, volunteer work is a great place to start. Not only will you get to develop and improve your skills – you’ll also gain valuable experience that will help you stand out on the job market. And even if you’re already well-established in PR, volunteering can be a great way to use your talents outside work and even gain new skills.
Below are five ways to get involved and find volunteer work in public relations.
1. Create PR and marketing campaigns, pro bono
Every organization wants to get its name out there, and get its message out to the public. It’s especially important – and especially hard – for charities and nonprofit organizations. Hiring a full-time PR or marketing professional costs money, and part-time work isn’t cheap, either. This leads many organizations to skimp on – or totally skip – PR and marketing efforts.
If you are looking to get into PR, or just looking for a way to donate your time, this could be an amazing opportunity –both for you you and the organization you decide to help. Find a charity or nonprofit in your area that could use a little help with branding, marketing or PR, and volunteer your services. Offer to work with organization employees or other volunteers to create a campaign pro bono. The organization will get the publicity they need to get their message out, and you’ll get valuable experience that you can take into your future career.
2. Volunteer to run social media
Another way you can get volunteer experience in PR? Offer to run social media for a nonprofit organization or a small business. These days, many companies rely on their social media accounts to interact with their customers. But finding time for this – and, more importantly, doing it correctly – can be difficult, especially for smaller organizations with small staffs.
You could help an organization out by running their Facebook or Twitter pages, posting content, responding to comments and questions, and even creating social ads. Volunteering to run social media for an organization could help them out immeasurably – and you’ll gain valuable experience in digital marketing and social media, skills that many employers value.
3. Reach out to the Public Relations Society of America
Want to volunteer, but don’t have an organization or company in mind? You can find a volunteer position in PR by reaching out to the Public Relations Society of America. Typically, you’ll be able to find volunteer opportunities in your area through your local chapter.
Finding volunteer work through the PRSA also has an added benefit: you’ll be developing valuable skills and creating valuable relationships by networking with PR professionals in your area. These contacts could even help you find and land jobs down the line.
4. Use LinkedIn and other professional networking sites
It’s simple: one of the best ways to find a volunteer position in PR is to network. Build relationships with influencers and professionals in the field, and you’ll hear about – and possibly get recommended for – more and better opportunities.
Though it’s always beneficial to attend local networking events in person, you can also get a lot out of online networking. A great way to do this? Utilize sites like LinkedIn, where you can connect with people you already know, and then connect with people they know. LinkedIn also has industry- and area-specific groups you can join to further help you network with new people.
5. Use resources at local colleges or universities
If you went to school for public relations, it’s likely that your alma mater has some type of career center. These centers often have both professional and volunteer opportunities or internships available to students and alumni. And with the backing of a college or university, it’s easier to get your foot in the door.
Have you moved away from your college town? Try reaching out to career centers at the colleges and universities in your area. While they may not be able to offer you the same services they have for students and alumni, they may be able to open up new contacts or opportunities.
If you’re interested in getting into or advancing in the field of PR, volunteering can be a great way to do it. Volunteer experience is a wonderful way to gain experience, improve your skills, and develop contacts in your industry. And it can help give you an edge over other job seekers.
Have you ever volunteered in PR? What was your experience?