Many students take internships, and some take more than one. Other students volunteer for organizations or get involved in professional student activities.
However, there is another type of professional development experience that college students may not know they are qualified for. That experience is serving on the executive board for a nonprofit organization.
At first, this idea seems strange and even impossible. As twenty-somethings, how would our generation be able to provide direction for a non-profit?
However, our young and creative minds are exactly what most organizations are looking for, and with new ideas (and knowledge that we learn from our studies), we can have a profound impact on an organization.
The experience itself will be a great resume booster, however, you will also get to network with many professionals and learn how the inside of a non-profit works.
You will also learn skills (such as finance or corporate law) that you wouldn’t have otherwise become exposed to.
If you are interested in joining a board, it is important to find a cause that you care about. Whether it is animal welfare, sustainability, or poverty resolution, be sure that you have a personal reason for taking on a position. If you join a board that you are not passionate about, you will not have a worthwhile experience.
Once you are on a board, be sure to seek out mentors who have served for a longer period of time. This way, they can catch you up on important items you need to understand. They can also provide guidance with future decisions you will have to opportunity to influence.
It may be a daunting responsibility, but serving on a non-profit board can give you a great boost on your resume. Also, the connections you will make may help you down the line, and you may learn skills you won’t in a classroom setting.