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Volunteer to Paint Your Life Portfolio

If you are in life stage: Working Hard for No Money Posted May 6th, 2013
By Kathryn Sollmann

Lately I’ve been reading a lot about the “portfolio” of life—all the skills and experiences we gather as we move through every age and stage. This portfolio is not just something that you build professionally while you’re in the workforce, it includes everything you learn and master as a person in day-to-day life and as an unpaid volunteer.

When you think about enhancing your life portfolio, the options are endless. Take a course at a local college, learn a new instrument, travel to a different region of the world, take in a foster child…there are so many ways to give your life breadth and depth.

Your choices can be random, taking you on a winding path—or more deliberate, guiding you down a more well-defined route. If you are an active volunteer, and you someday would like to return to the workforce, you can be more deliberate about the activities you choose for your life portfolio.

The expression “doing well by doing good” means that while you are helping others, you can help yourself, too. This agenda does not necessarily weaken your altruism: we all make better paid or unpaid contributions when we are in our sweet spot of interests and skills.

There’s a great article that gives guidance on how to choose volunteer work that will help people and organizations now—and you in the future. Take a look at “How to Find A Volunteer Opportunity that Will Advance Your Career”.

Be sure to read the complete article that emphasizes four key tips:

1. Think about what experience or knowledge you want to gain.

2. Think about what experience or knowledge you could contribute.

3. Determine your time parameters.

4. Use your network to find opportunities that enhance your portfolio.

In the creative world, the best portfolios show versatility and variety—but also emphasize a palette of certain skills and strengths. When you do decide to return to work, the more that you can show the depth of experience and application of skills in certain areas, the easier it will be for you to find a job. —KAS

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