By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
“I think there’s a distinction between volunteering to help you in your own personal development and in your career development. Volunteering is always important for someone’s personal development and it can be important for professional development.”
This from Jamie Peretz, the founder of 2MyCareer, a college to career advisory service assisting college students and recent graduates with first careers. Prior to founding her company, Jamie was a managing director at Korn Ferry International, the global leader in executive search and talent management. We caught up with her recently to chat about the
importance of volunteering to career development in the Big4.
When it comes to building a career foundation, this important piece of the puzzle can be essential to help people on the cusp of starting a career clarify their own interests, goals and passions according to Peretz, who holds a BA from Princeton University, an MBA from New York University, and a JD from Georgetown University.
“Basically I think the two angles leapfrog off each other,” she says. “Someone is always drawn toward a career they have a passion for.” She cites personal experience with mentoring roles that broadened her horizons and understanding while simultaneously laying part of the foundation for 2MyCareer.
She goes on to say while anyone and everyone should be volunteering in areas where they are able to help, an objective analysis of the experience is a great way to clarity one’s natural strengths. She explains:
“I think if you can use that experience and step back to say ‘What did I like and not like about that?’ and what does that tell me about how my career could unfold, volunteering is helpful.”
On the other side of the coin, Peretz is clear you should never shy away from any of these opportunities just because there’s no obvious career advantage for a specific path. She notes any kind of volunteering affords the chance to hone networking skills and the ability to work with others. Any chance to learn how to be more effective in a group will come in handy for those looking to climb the ladder in the Big4 and elsewhere.
Peretz also stresses there’s nothing wrong with looking at the possibilities through a more business orientated lens.
“If you’re at a certain stage and you need to be somewhat selfish about your time and where to best spend it, you can take advantage of volunteering being a double whammy since you can help other people and yourself.”
We finish up with her saying volunteering might be most effective for junior professionals as it offers an additional tool to help them create their career paths.