During these difficult economic times the job search process can be challenging but what if you tried something new? Instead of spending each day applying to jobs online, submitting your resume to Monster.com, Craigslist, Careerbuilder and more, why not try a few days of volunteering? Sounds crazy right??? New case studies show that taking time to give back will expand your network, enhance your character, and potentially lead to full-time career opportunities! This post marks the first in a series of interviews we’ve conducted with successful individuals who have obtained AWESOME Jobs, expanded their network, and increased their personal development by volunteering!
Meet Scott Bailey. Scott knows the key to success, and it’s not based on the money you make. “It’s a weird thing,” he says. “Right out of college, people think you need a job that really pays.”As a recent college graduate I certainly questioned this philosophy; isn’t a well-paying job the goal of a degree? After sitting down to talk with Bailey, the Director of Partnerships at MassChallenge, it seems he had the right attitude as he set forth into the professional world.
On the verge of graduating from the University of Vermont, Scott Bailey had a revelation: his resume was less than light. Hoping to beef it up a bit, he began volunteering with a Burlington-based incubator program for startups.
“It was my first job out of school,” he said. “While I was there, one of the angel investors I was close to told me about MassChallenge; he said I had to go there.”
Although the thought was risky–MassChallenge had been up and running for less than a month–Bailey jumped in. “I got an apartment, moved to Boston, interviewed the first day I got here and started volunteering,” he said. Having only saved a small amount of money from bartending through college, he left Vermont without the promise of immediate employment.
“I wanted to invest in doing something of value,” Bailey said. It wasn’t all feel-good work, but his time spent volunteering at MassChallenge paid off. “It’s kind of funny. At first I was writing confirmation emails to guest speakers and plugging them into Excel sheets. I helped clean up after events. I did things that just had to be done.”
By taking on any task at hand, Bailey made himself an organic part of the MassChallenge atmosphere. “I was around all the time,” he said. As a volunteer at the young startup, Bailey put in an incredible amount of time and energy into MassChallenge unpaid.
Money was tight, but, to Bailey, it didn’t matter; his constant effort at MassChallenge was based on a drive to make a positive impact more than anything else. “I really believed in the mission,” he said. “you’re not there for the money.”
After dedicating most of his time as a volunteer for three months in Boston with no means of income, Bailey approached the cofounders and sole employees of MassChallenge, John Harthorne and Akhil Nigam, regarding employment. By that time, Bailey had proven himself as an irreplaceable asset to the MassChallenge team. “They offered me a position on the spot,” he said.
His commitment to getting ahead on any task, maintaining a hunger for good work, and being a positive, motivating presence within the startup all contributed to his ultimate success. “You’ve got to provide value before you’re deemed valuable,” he said.
“One thing that worked out: I was just hungry,” Bailey said. “I wasn’t making any money, but John [Harthorne, CEO and co-founder], he got me this stress ball that looked like a blueberry; in his world, it meant that I would eat every job I got.” He laughs about it now, but this recognition shown just after closing a crucial sponsorship deal was a driving force for Bailey during his last weeks as a volunteer.
This combination of “Do or die” and “Do the right thing” attitudes, he believes, can lead anyone to similar success as long as action is taken. “You just need to focus and get things done,” he said. “When I’m working with a volunteer or a potential employee, I always want to know what their strategy is–how will they get things done. It can’t be a half-hearted commitment.”
Bailey is now the longest employed member of the MassChallenge team after the company’s co-founders, his values are reflected in this startups massive success–in its first year alone, MassChallenge’s efforts generated over 500 new startup jobs and helped entrepreneurs raise over $100M in capital. In its third year now, this “watering hole of entrepreneurship” continues to drive the entrepreneurial community through its community-based, crowd-sourced business model.
Not surprisingly, it’s the togetherness promoted by MassChallenge that drives Bailey on his own future pursuits. “Building communities, rallying people around communities–I want to make people realize that startups are what we should invest in. Startups are the future.” With his dedication to continue just as vigorously as ever, Scott Bailey, may just be the one to convince the world of this sentiment and that volunteering can lead to success!
Do you have an inspiring story of how volunteering helped you or someone you know achieve career goals? Email a brief description of your volunteer experience to Info@AltruHelp.com and a member of our team will follow up with you to schedule an interview. For more information about MassChallenge, visit their website at http://www.masschallenge.org.