Here is the first of two real life examples to help answer that question.
Freshly repatriated from abroad, I found myself unable to return to my previous career. While abroad, like many of the “trailing spouses” I had engaged my brain in voluntary work and for several years I had been an editor. This role kept my computer skills up to date at a time when things were changing fast. On returning to the UK, I was welcomed with open arms at the local primary school when I offered to help in computer lessons. From there I became the official photographer and went on to build a website for the school – all as a volunteer. Little did I know at the time, but these skills were going to be a ticket to a new career direction.
First of all, though, I had to do my apprenticeship. I started teaching basic computer skills to career-break-returners – mostly mums who had been out of the workplace for a while. So ironically, there I was, also in my first job after a break, teaching other adults skills that I’d learnt as a volunteer. At this point, things were going really well and I embarked on the next level of teacher training. And while I was on the training course, one of the tutors spotted me. They noticed that I had previously taught English as a foreign language, while abroad, and was now teaching IT. This was a combination of skills the college had been seeking for some time. On the strength of this they offered me a great job – teaching IT to international students on university foundation courses. And so without even looking, I had landed myself my next post where I spent several satisfying years working with ambitious and interesting young people.
Can you get a job without having an interview? Well, I did. In fact, I’ve never had a job interview! Apart from my first job after university I have not applied for anything I have ever done. All my work has come my way, directly or indirectly, as a result of my volunteering. I’ve made career changes by getting to know people, by people finding out about me by word of mouth and by being in the right place at the right time.
For some other ideas, take a look at Volunteer your time, you may find a job
What useful skills have you learnt as a volunteer? Please leave a comment and tell me.