Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Top 5 Skills Gained from Volunteer Work

In preparation for today's teleclass with the Downtown Women's Club on Volunteering & Leadership Development, we created an online survey to learn about your volunteer experiences. So, I thought I'd share some initial results from the survey.

Here are the TOP 5 Career Skills you have developed or acquired by getting involved in your community: {online drumroll, please}
  1. Communication (72%)
  2. Leadership (69%)
  3. Teamwork (59%)
  4. Fundraising (47%)
  5. Problem solving AND Public Speaking (tie at 44%)

In today's session, we talked about how important it is to be clear about your goals for a volunteer experience -- whether they are purely charitable/philanthropic or include a professional component. Either perspective is OK; just be sure you (and the organization) are clear from the beginning about what you hope to achieve.

When both parties are on the same page, it can be a win-win experience for all. This became obvious to me as I read your comments on the recognition and support you've received from organizations for whom you volunteer, including:

  • Introductions to executives/senior leaders
  • References for work
  • Invitations to networking and special events

All are important for taking your career to the next level. There's still time to tell us about your volunteer experiences. Take our brief survey at: I look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Do You Have a Career Portfolio?

No, I'm not talking about the newest collection from Coach or Tumi! Artists, photographers, architects, designers and writers have used portfolios for decades to showcase their abilities and talents. In today’s competitive job market, portfolios have become a useful tool for professionals outside the artistic arena.

The ability to effectively showcase your relevant knowledge and skills is critical, whether you are seeking a new opportunity or staying with your current employer. Along with a tailored resume, a career portfolio can provide further evidence of your professional qualifications and abilities.

What is a portfolio?
A portfolio is a personal collection of information describing and documenting [your] achievements and learning. As a visual representation of your skills, capabilities and knowledge, it shows your potential to add value to an organization.

Why create a Career Portfolio?
You can use a career portfolio to:
  • market your capabilities in a job interview
  • support a request to your manager for a promotion or raise
  • document the quality and quantity of your professional development
  • demonstrate prior work or learning experiences for educational credit

Career portfolios have become a nearly universal requirement for the hiring process. But, if you already have a secure job (i.e., one that's not on the Endangered Careers List), you can view a career portfolio as your insurance against unforeseen shake-ups at your company. Keeping this self-promotion tool up-to-date also can be a good exercise in self-evaluation.

In upcoming posts, we’ll help you to organize your career portfolio and use it as a tool in your career development and advancement.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Can Volunteering Make You a Better Leader?

So, it's September and back to school season. I'm gearing up for some great fall events and seminars.

My NEXT teleclass on Volunteerism & Leadership is on Wednesday, September 27 at 12:00 PM EST with the Downtown Women's Club.

Join us for an interactive Competent Advantage(TM) - Downtown Women’s Club teleclass that will help you:
  • Identify volunteer opportunities that align with your personal motivators
  • Create volunteer experiences that enable you to practice and enhance your professional skills
  • Position your volunteer experiences in performance management discussions
  • Use volunteer experiences to step out of your “professional comfort zone"

RSVP to and you'll receive the dial-in number. Hope to chat with you on September 27th!