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Volunteering Your Way
Up the Career Ladder
Todd DeLuca
TechCommTodd
About the Speaker
What is Volunteering ?
Where Can You Climb?
What Can You Offer ?
What can you learn ?
Why Volunteer ?
Rewards & Benefits
Risks
What are Some Steps ?
Are You Prepared ?
How Do You Start ?
Questions ?
Thank You !
Contact Info
@TechCommTodd
TechCommTodd@gmail.com
http://techcommtodd.tumblr.com
How Have I Climbed ?
• Actively participated with
STC
• Initiated Professional
Development plan
• Acted individually as my
own boss
• Demonstrated leadership
Helpful Resources
• Volunteer Links
• STC PMC
(stcpmc.org)
• Volunteer Match
(volunteermatch.org)
• United Way
(unitedforimpact.org)
• Red Cross
(redcross.org)

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Volunteering Your Way Up the Career Ladder

Editor's Notes

  1. Thank you for attending - and welcome to Volunteering Your Way Up the Career Ladder. I don’t see any ladders so I assume you forgot them at home or left them in the car? That’s OK, we’ll make do (I can call maintenance for one - it will help during the demonstration) I intend for this to be an interactive and engaging presentation. Your here, I’m here - which makes it our time (to quote Mr. Spicolli). So please ask questions or provide personal anecdotes so we can all learn and encourage each other.
  2. I’ve been in the technical communication field for about 15 years, when I decided to get a Master’s degree in Technical Communication. I’ve been working as a technical writer ever since - as a soloist for much of that time (acting as a ‘department of one’). Recently I became manager of a Technical Communications team and credit much of the promotion to my volunteer efforts. My volunteer pursuits outside of the the office have been primarily with the Society for Technical Communication (STC), through participation at the chapter and national level. I began by attending meetings, started to volunteer for small assignments, ran for chapter Secretary, and eventually became Vice President and then President. I now work as a semi-retired chapter volunteer and have begun to speak and share my experiences to help others, build my network, and pave my own professional development path. That’s how I’ve climbed the ladder.
  3. When you think of volunteering, you may think about ‘helping out’ or stepping forward to assist - typically with a positive intent. That’s a more traditional view and a great place to begin. I think of volunteering as an offer to help (a promise), which becomes a commitment when initiated. When completed, the commitment fulfills the promise and builds trust. And trust is gold. In the end, the result is a contribution to a greater good, which is recognized by others and leaves a positive impression. That’s helpful when you try to move on to bigger or better things. What is volunteering to you?
  4. There are different places and opportunities to volunteer: charity organizations, professional society, church, school, sports work Can you name some other volunteer opportunities?
  5. Time = Stand in for others (temporary fill in) Effort = Extra pair of hands (add more horsepower to a project) Information = Share what you know (document insider info) Expertise = Pass along skills and experience (mentor and train) What other kinds of things can you volunteer?
  6. Some sample Volunteer Skills Leadership Project Management or Event Management Marketing and Promotion These are just some of the skills you can learn and ‘practice’. In many cases, you’ll learn in a ‘safe’ environment while others assist, provide guidance, and share their own experience. If you’re a new volunteer, you’re not typically expected to understand and know what to do right away (there’s opportunity to learn and practice on the job). Where’s a good place to learn and practice all of these skills? - STC, of course! (no, really - that’s where I learned many of them)
  7. What are some examples or reasons to volunteer? - personal request from friend or colleague - help others or serve a cause (share your fortune) - do the right thing (follow your beliefs) - address a need (at work or in community) - fix a problem (be part of the solution) What’s your motivation to volunteer? - it feels good - career advancement (duh)
  8. Meet new people = range of relationships and friendships, a wider network of people you can access and reach out to for assistance Greater exposure = wider recognition at work or in community Skills and experience = career options and advancement Satisfaction = it feels good to help, learn, or grow These things can lead to am improved, positive reputation and give you the confidence or ‘swagger’ it takes to demonstrate your ready to take the next career step.
  9. Volunteering can seem risky, especially if you’re shy or not inclined to raise your hand. Some examples of risk (why you might not want to): Unfamiliar people or organization (Being the ‘new kid’) Losing focus from main job or work Not having the required skills or experience Worry about meeting expectations Take the chance - as they say, rewards come with risks. People are happy to have help or support - you’ll be surprised how well it usually works out. Even if it isn’t the right fit, you’ve learned something about yourself and picked up some valuable experience along the way.
  10. What are some specific volunteer activities? fund raising, proposal writing, event promotion, leadership, community outreach, social committees STC chapters have tons of great opportunities What are some things you’ve done or learned while volunteering that you could apply towards your career? - email marketing, client engagement, …
  11. What does it take to volunteer? Commitment of Time and Effort Keeping Promises Accepting Risk Stepping Out Being Enthusiastic Don’t worry - you can do it! What have to got to lose?
  12. Some simple steps to begin (it’s easy): Raise your hand Step forward Say ‘Yes’ Just do it! Keep this in mind: Many people volunteer regularly (and probably don’t realize it). However, the percentage of people who actively participate is low, so just by volunteering you already begin to set yourself apart.
  13. I hope you found this topic and presentation motivating and insightful. If you put forth the effort and get involved, your odds and opportunities to advance will increase substantially. I encourage you to find something that interests you enough to step up and take a chance. You won’t regret it.
  14. Please keep in touch and let me know how it goes. And give me feedback so I can improve, please. Share your volunteer stories and experiences with me so that I can learn and pass along more examples to future audiences. I want to share your successes with others.
  15. Shared participation and leadership with STC Initiated my own Professional Development plan and asked for company support ($$) Acted as a department (my own boss), even though I was a solo writer (documented processes, wrote style guides, reached out to other departments to collaborate) Showed evidence of leadership, promoted my accomplishments, and gave confidence to managers that I was ready to advance
  16. Volunteer Links STC PMC (stcpmc.org) Volunteer Match (volunteermatch.org)