Do good so you can do well. Community service and charitable acts are not simply good for your soul. They are good for your reputation. They are a great way to network with employees at the companies on your target list. The best way to connect with someone who right now is a stranger, is finding a common interest or a cause that speaks to your heart and theirs.

You know the fastest way to attract your ideal offer is always through a personal referral. So, you’ve got to think strategically when you think about how to best invest your time in community service and charitable causes. Use your efforts to make personal connections and attract the right kind of attention as you do your part for the community or those who are underserved. If you do the right kind of advance planning, you’ll come up with the ideal choices for not just serving others in a meaningful way, but also engage with other volunteers who can make career-wise introductions for you.

Successful businesspeople, professionals, entrepreneurs, and consultants have always sought out non-profit board positions to be good community citizens while also making the types of personal connections they need for themselves or their companies. At the senior levels of any sector, you discover that executives’ personal involvement in a philanthropy matters more than their merely making a financial donation. Serving on non-profit boards provides an opportunity for these high-level people to get visibility and make valuable personal connections, while following their sincere desire to invest their time where their hearts lead them.

You can use this same high-level strategy as you start your career. Of course, you should pick a cause because it speaks to your heart. At the same time, it’s wise to choose a cause based on who it allows you to speak with. Given how many of our interactions are virtual right now, there are extraordinary opportunities to be part of a planning or action group with people from a wide range of places, expanding your network geographically, culturally, and career-wise.

Next Steps

  1. Make a target list of companies you’ve put on your “dream job” list.
  2. Visit their websites or social media to 1) research their corporate values, 2) see how they direct their charitable giving or support employees participating in non-profits, and 3) identify where their employees are devoting time to non-profits.
  3. Check out non-profits’ websites and social media to see which companies they acknowledge for support and employee participation.
  4. Reach out to those non-profits that meet your community service goals and give you the opportunity to meet and participate with other volunteers who also work at your target companies.
  5. When you engage in activities for the non-profit, showcase your best skills including teamwork, problem-solving, and a strong work ethic.
  6. Add your volunteer activities to your LinkedIn profile.
  7. Reach out on LinkedIn to make new connections with your fellow volunteers (especially those who work at your target companies) – and anyone whose profile shows they are involved in the non-profit.
  8. As you get to know them, let these people know you are seeking a job and you would appreciate a personal recommendation or referral to their employer. Remember: sometimes employees get a bonus for referring candidates who get hired!