By: Kristen LaBrosse, CAPM

Last week I attended the PMI San Diego Chapter’s February Component Dinner Meeting, where the theme was celebrating the 2008 volunteers… OSCAR STYLE! This was an evening dedicated to honoring the people who had given back to the chapter in the form of donating their time and hard work.
My friend Sarah was one of the head volunteers at this event, and as her cohort I jumped in to provide as much help as possible. Her duties included putting together gift bags for the 150 guests that would be attending, and not just any gift bags, but Oscar style gift bags. Since the budget did not provide for fancy watches or Safari trips to Africa, creativity was a necessity.      

The gift bags that resulted were a fun mixture of popcorn, chocolate bars wrapped with Oscar Award emblems, fun-fetty (which was just the right mixture of glamour and  annoyance as it exploded out of the gift bag upon opening), and the famous gold Cheetah Learning caps. Creating these gift bags may have been a daunting job for one person, but with the promise of wine and hors d’oeuvre we found our friends could be easily persuaded to attend a gift bag making soirée.

Sarah and I arrived early to the event to help set up the Oscar themed room and to get on our best “red-carpet-interviewer” game faces. As the guests arrived, we approached them, microphone in hand, and slammed them with questions, such as “WHO are you wearing this evening?” or, the very important question, “Team Aniston or Jolie?!” Some guests were thoroughly delighted by the attention, while others were confused, but everyone’s face lit right up when we pointed them in the direction of the bar. And so the night at the Oscars- PMI style- began.  

The night was dedicated to celebrating and thanking volunteers. What I took away from this event was just how important volunteering is, a message that rings especially true for people who are employed-challenged at the moment and are looking to find not only their next job, but their next career in a field that is meaningful to them and matches their skill sets.

San Diego Chapter PMI Dinner- Oscar Style

San Diego Chapter PMI Dinner- Oscar Style

Volunteering is a very powerful tool that should not be overlooked when considering expanding your network in order to enhance your job search. Three-fourths of people find jobs through personal contacts, which means that 75% of jobs are already filled before they ever hit the job boards. Volunteering provides the opportunity to come in contact with a wide variety of people, which can never hurt when you are on the job hunt.  Another great reason to volunteer is to avoid that gap in your resume, so that when you do apply to your next job you have a slew of experience (experience is experience, paid or not) that will aidindemonstrating your skills.

So if you do find yourself with some free time on your hands, you could hole yourself up in your house and catch up on the Lost series, or you could grab your friends, your skills, and career by the bull horns and get out there and volunteer.

Thanks for reading,

Kristen LaBrosse, CAPM 

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