Increase your network through volunteerism

Volunteering provides a unique opportunity to expand your personal and professional network.

How is your network working for you? Do you have the personal and professional relationships needed to help you navigate challenges and find opportunities that interest you? If you are not as connected as you would like to be, consider getting involved in your community as a volunteer. In every city and town there are hundreds of volunteer opportunities through non-profits, schools and community organizations. You can make a difference while meeting people and building your resume.

How do you pick the position that is right for you? First, determine the types of people you need to add to your network. You may want to consider your goals, especially your personal and professional goals, as well as goals that stretch across both areas.


Are you looking for people who may be able to assist you in meeting professional goals? If so, you might look for a position where you can use your professional skills or serve with others who have the same skill set.


Friends are another important part of anyone’s network. If you are new to a community or just looking to meet some new people, consider volunteering for a cause close to your heart or doing something you really enjoy. Friendships often form around shared interests, so choose a position that will allow you to engage with people who like the same things you enjoy. Life can get really chaotic at times and good neighbors can save the day when you need a hand. If you don’t know many of your neighbors, you can volunteer to serve on a neighborhood association board or committee.

Professional and personal

Volunteering is a great way to make connections and build your personal and professional network. By volunteering, you have the opportunity to connect to local, statewide or national organizations, as well as know people who have some similar interests as you. You can find volunteer opportunities online such as Volunteer Match, through your local Volunteer Center or by connecting with your Michigan State University Extension county office.

Once you select an organization, you will likely need to apply and complete a screening process. Many organizations will also provide training. Networking is about building relationships. Don’t miss the opportunity to connect with staff and other volunteers as you complete the screening and training process. The next article in this series focuses on building relationships.

Other articles in this series:

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