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Daphné Vanessa

Shamil Rodriguez



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About This Episode

Make your degree worth it by volunteering. Daphné Vanessa and Shamil Rodriguez (@shamilrodriguez) discuss how to make your degree worth it by volunteering. Have you ever been in an interview where you were told that need more experience? What?!?!? More work experience…but I just graduated from school. I am going to gain work experience by working here at this job. Isn’t that how it works? Not necessarily.

Daphné and Shamil share how volunteering can be a launching pad for your career. Not only does volunteering with nonprofits obviously help the community, you can gain direct work experience and fine tune your skills at the same time. Daphné and Shamil share their personal success stories as a result of volunteering and how you can do it too.

Pull out your notebooks and open your minds as Daphné and Shamil take a Deep Dive Into Making Your Degree Worth it by volunteering.



  • How to land your dream job through volunteering.
  • Tips and strategies for maximizing your volunteer opportunities to build work experience and a bigger network.
  • How you can stand out in your interviews for a new job by volunteering .
  • Why nonprofits can serve as an incubator for developing your skills.
  • And much more…

Enjoying the show? Leave us a rating and review. Every comment helps! Drop in your IG handle so we can thank you personally!


The StartNoo Student Loan Podcast Intro (00:00): Welcome to the student loan podcast. Here, you'll find practical advice on tackling student loan debt, paying down your higher education expenses and inspiring stories about paying off student loans. We're your hosts, Daphne, Vanessa and Shamil Rodriguez.

Shamil Rodriguez (00:19): Welcome to the Student Loan podcast. Before we begin, this is not professional advice. And we speak from our own personal views and opinions. The Student Loan podcast is your resource for all things, student loans and tuition. We talk about student loans, education costs, and overcoming these burdens to achieve your goals.

Daphné Vanessa (00:37): Student loan podcast is brought to you by start new, where you can serve your community and get rewarded with tuition and student loan payments. If you're enjoying our content, we would really appreciate if you could rate and review our podcast, it helps us grow our show and reach more listeners just like you.

Shamil Rodriguez (00:55): And if you know anyone who can benefit from listening to our podcast, please share it

Daphné Vanessa (00:59): With them. For those of you who've already shared, rated and reviewed our podcast. Thank you. We wouldn't be where we are now without you.

Shamil Rodriguez (01:07): All right. So with that, let's get started. Hello, everyone.

Daphné Vanessa (01:11): Summer is here. School year is ending. So does that mean it's time to have fun? Hm. I don't know. Maybe you can take advantage of this time to secure the job of your dreams. Let's talk about what you're going to get out of college. What the benefits of volunteering can be for that and how you can secure the job of your dreams after graduation.

Shamil Rodriguez (01:37): Now, remember this is all just to help pay off your student loans in the first place. So, uh, yeah,

Daphné Vanessa (01:44): Right. That's right. Let's, we're trying to avoid student loans. We're trying to end up making school worth it. Right? And so this episode is going to talk about if you're in college right now, you just graduated. How transitioning into volunteering can help you get the job of your dreams. So let's talk about some of the general benefits of volunteering, right? People talk about the societal benefits. They talk about the personal and emotional benefits, but let's talk about some concrete benefits that you get from volunteering for nonprofits and other organizations. So the first one that I want to point out is developing new skills. So having a nonprofit is essentially being engaged with the nonprofit, gives you the opportunity to practice, practice, whatever you're going to do, develop and strengthen your skills in a particular industry. And so while nonprofits may focus on a variety of causes, the skills that they need to operate can be consistent across the organizations. What do you think?

Shamil Rodriguez (02:54): No, I think that's a great, a great point because oftentimes, like you said, the transferability of those skills applies to the private sector, right? So a lot of times you might be thinking, oh, I don't have time to, to volunteer, or it's this free, what am I going to do in that instance? But just keep in mind that the same web designer or web design skills, they may need the same organization skills that they need the same, uh, management of personnel skills that they may need, uh, exist in the business side as well. So just know that you're, you're almost getting that free shot to fine tune your skills so that you can be better off when you go into the private sector.

Daphné Vanessa (03:32): Yup, exactly. And in fact, Deloitte did a study where they showed that 92% of people who influence hiring decisions say that volunteering improves and employee's leadership skills and professional skillset. So volunteering has been demonstrated and even proven by, by private sector workforce to be transferable and useful when you start the job. Exactly.

Shamil Rodriguez (04:00): And I think this lends itself really well, uh, into really engaging with other people, um, that might end up connecting you in some way or another to the dream job or to your dream job, right? So you're expanding your network by actually getting out there and volunteering. And it doesn't have to be a space that is directly related to the field that you want to go into, uh, where you volunteer. It may just be something that's a passion project of yours, but you want to bring the skills you've learned in school to that nonprofits so they can have a better impact in their mission. What do you think Daphne?

Daphné Vanessa (04:34): Yeah, no, absolutely. Networking as we've discussed on previous episodes is so important and expanding your network by demonstrating your actual value is one of the strongest ways you can expand your network. I know personally some of my greatest mentors or people that I've worked for for free, um, and, and really just demonstrated my skill set and work ethic and willingness to just roll my sleeves up and get the job done. And that was stronger than any sort of superficial relationship that could have been developed because we worked alongside each other. We executed large scales project global projects in some instances. So I've been super lucky that, you know, leveraging volunteering has helped me expand my network to some of the people that support me the most today. Exactly.

Shamil Rodriguez (05:29): And I think a really good point to keep in mind is that a lot of the people that are on the boards of these nonprofits that's actually, uh, are, you know, typically powerful people in their space, right. Or let's say like seasoned professionals in their space, right. So if you are really killing the game like Daphne saying, then all of a sudden that person may notice that wait, you know what, this person might be good for my team or my company. Uh, and so don't be surprised if you are actively leading, you're taking on responsibility, you're showing off your skillset that somebody says, Hey, you know, what are you planning to do after graduation? And then be prepared to have that conversation.

Daphné Vanessa (06:06): Right. Right. Exactly. And we're going to go into a little bit more how you can maximize the volunteering experience, but we just want to first transition to how volunteering helps you show in another way, what your personal values are. Right? So you can show that you are a charitable person that you're involved in a number of causes by which organizations you're volunteering with. And that's almost a subliminal message, a non-direct way outside of your resume of showing your impact. And it's something you can beautifully weave into an interview process when you start to talk about your experiences and how it translates to the job that you're applying for. So that's a great opportunity as well.

Shamil Rodriguez (06:52): And I think that's, it answers the question that a lot of us have, or I guess has been so long for me had, um, where you're in school. And the question when you're doing your interview, prep was like, well, how do we get experience? If everyone always asks for people that have experience. And I always, I always looked and love and I want to share my story. I'll I'll go into it. But it really was helpful to know that I gained my experience through volunteering. It's a great way to actually add it to your resume. So you have something to talk about during the interview process, because they are going to ask you questions about, about your, your experience and like, where did you gain it? How did you gain it? And like Daphne said, now you can say, Hey, I didn't just gain it for my own benefit, but I got to test it out in the real world by helping a non-profit in this space.

Daphné Vanessa (07:39): Right. Because some experiences that we have in college might not be transferable unless let's say we're applying to be club promoter. Yeah. A good thing. Well, you want to talk about certain experiences and nightlife that might not be transferable to the career you want, unless, like I said, you're going into nightlife and that is a legitimate career. I am not downplaying that at all. It is a career. I, I have lots of friends in this industry. It's a business. And if you're going on the business side, very different, but for your standard corporate job, maybe nightlife is not transferable. Unless you may get transferred.

Speaker 4 (08:19): Yes. You could say, but it may not be something you put on your resume. Let's put it that way. Every single frat party I was dedicated, you know,

Daphné Vanessa (08:29): You could, you could spin it, but who knows? Yeah.

Shamil Rodriguez (08:31): Maybe not something that you want to bring up during your first round of interviews,

Speaker 4 (08:34): Depending on who your interviewer issue. I was your interviewer. I would love it. I'm just kidding. No,

Shamil Rodriguez (08:41): You know, and I think this goes back to that point of really, you know, just standing out against the rest of the people that are applying for jobs, right. You're just really showing that you have that go getter mentality. You're not just sitting on the couch at home, uh, during your summer vacations. Right. Take advantage of that opportunity to really stand out amongst your peers.

Daphné Vanessa (09:00): Right. And that doesn't mean that your entire summer has to be go, go, go, go, go. You can segment and take time and say, okay, for six weeks or eight weeks out of the summer, I'm going to volunteer and make time or intern, whatever you're doing. And then for the, the rest of the summer, I'm going to meditate vege, sit on a beach, whatever you need to recalibrate. So I don't want to be another voice that's pushing. Workoholism, that's definitely not my personal goal, but it goes without saying that you have this gap of time, it makes sense to maximize it and not like Chanel said, sit on the couch all summer.

Shamil Rodriguez (09:48): Exactly. All right.

Daphné Vanessa (09:49): Yeah. I wonder if Shamil would be interested in sharing his person.

Shamil Rodriguez (09:57): Okay. Yeah, no, I think this is a good, a good transition time to go in there. Uh, so for me, one really big benefit, or let me rephrase this, something that was very important to me. It was making sure that I use the degree that I went to school for. I know that a lot of people don't and it's okay. Uh, but uh, for me it was making sure that my degree was worth it. And so I wanted to make it worth it. And so what I did was I tried, or my freshman year, not even tried, I did, um, I ended up finding opportunities for campaigns to volunteer, to get an internship so that I can learn what it was like to actually be in politics. I was a government and politics major. I was like, what does that mean though? Right. It's so broad.

Shamil Rodriguez (10:40): Uh, and it's like, I can work anywhere in that space. So how do I figure out I'm like, understand where should I go? What do I like? So the first thing I did was I did campaign. So I, you know, over the course of my career, I've done campaigns. I've worked at state government offices, federal government offices. Uh, I've worked in the lobbying side. So I've seen all the different angles of how the government works together and like to make itself work. But back to this point, is that during that freshman year, I recall, I literally went to a website, applied to several internships and they were all free. And when I got one, I went, it's like the first one that I got, um, that I could commute to because I was in the city at this time. So I had to make sure I had something that I can commute New York city, the real city. Oh yeah, sorry. You're right. I actually definitely just said the city, not everybody

Daphné Vanessa (11:28): Knows. Some people are confused. They think that other locations or cities, and really the only city in the world is New York city.

Speaker 4 (11:36): Just kidding.

Shamil Rodriguez (11:38): I'm that guy, the only city in America. Um, so no, uh, I'll just assign the, uh, my point, my point is that I ended up turning that into like the launching pad for my career. Like, we're not going to get into all of that now, but just to you a quick summary, I, I went there for free as a volunteer. I did anything that they wanted me to do in terms of like doing it fast, doing it with tons of everything. No, not anything politics. He actually, no, I should be careful. I did not do anything. Um, I do what I was supposed to do and I did it well. Uh, but I showed up early. I volunteered to like do a lot of like the, not crappy stuff, but like things that, like, not everybody wants to get up at four o'clock in the morning and show up at this bus stop to give out leaflets to me, you know, but I was like, oh, it's an opportunity for me to get out there and like show, you know, engage with the people. Like I was really locked in on like what my mission wasn't like I wanted to really do well.

Daphné Vanessa (12:28): And that sort of help strengthen your community organizing. Right? Like that's, that's part of what made you that's. I would say one of your expert niches is like, you can get lots of large groups of people to follow an idea like that.

Shamil Rodriguez (12:43): Thank you. That's something. And you, now that you've said that it's actually still on my LinkedIn profile, it's still like my number one rated skill that people, I believe that and that, but that comes from actually that first campaign that I, I dumped on. And, you know, he's actually a Congressman now, which is interesting because he lost that race flax for something else. None of it is cool to see, but let's, let's wrap this up. Um, so the idea is that I went to their, I want volunteered. They liked my work. They actually offered me a, a paid internship for, for the rest of that summer. And at the end of the summer, how about this? They actually asked me if I wanted to go full time and join the campaign. I was in school and I was an RA at that point. Um, so I was like resident assistant.

Shamil Rodriguez (13:29): Yes. I didn't want to lose that opportunity that I had with them. Uh, but a lot of those individuals that I ended up working with, because at that point they really get to know who you are. I ended up like working with them at some point or another. They gave me referrals like that in line. It was really a great way. And it all came from volunteering. Right. Let's keep that in mind, this all started with just sharing some of my time for free in exchange for getting exposure to a field that I wanted to go into. And then that literally launched a several year career that was in the space that I was studying. So I was trying to make my degree worth it by doing

Daphné Vanessa (14:05): That. Nice. Nice love that. And what about some of the non-profit volunteering that you did talk about that a little bit? What do you mean? So for nonprofit organizations and how was that transferable to where you are

Shamil Rodriguez (14:21): Today? Sure. Uh, so a good one is, uh, well, when we went to school with St John's, we do a lot of service. It's a big part of our, just culture on the campus. Uh, so a lot of the volunteering that I did was like, uh, serving, uh, the homeless. Uh, we went to actually staying at homeless shelters, feeding the homeless and midnight runs, uh, whether it, you know, we just had a lot, I mean, for me, and I know that for you to like homeless is a big, uh, uh, uh, uh, group of people we like to impact

Daphné Vanessa (14:52): Solutions immediately. Yeah. So

Shamil Rodriguez (14:54): For me, not just something that, that is important to me. Uh, so that was a part of it. But outside of that, I would say other skills that I picked up were just anything that they wanted me to do. You said community organizing was such a good example because it was a skill that I wasn't looking to build, but it was something that they said was valuable for my career. And like, it would be helpful for our campaign in this instance. But, um, for other nonprofits I've designed websites for right. Which is a great, uh, op uh, skill set that I ended up developing over that time period. Yeah, totally agree. Yeah. So the nonprofits that I ended up working with ended up building a lot of my skills that I didn't expect to build. Right. And then I ended up adding to my resume, like web design. I didn't expect that to be something that I would pick up, but it just worked out well that some people needed it and I was young. So of course they just expected me to know it for any of you, those come across, Hey,

Daphné Vanessa (15:50): You there's this thing called tick talk. Can you figure it out

Shamil Rodriguez (15:54): Well back then to see, you know, all of that was new. Yes. Oh, I'm going to say no, really like,

Daphné Vanessa (15:59): Uh, like let's not age ourselves. I'm not a part of this

Shamil Rodriguez (16:01): Story. This is, this is just my story then. No, but I remember that people would just be like, oh, social media, oh, it's not a thing. Like, it's not something that you can really use and like, totally, totally wrong about how that was going to grow and like impact the entire world. But luckily they gave me that assignment anyway, and I took it on myself to build as a skill. And like, it really helps in a lot of ways, every organization that I work with has some component where there's web design, social media, some sort of organization tool, how to bring people together, you know? So that, those skills that I've built literally strictly from volunteering, still pay dividends today.

Daphné Vanessa (16:37): Oh yeah, for sure. I think people are shocked sometimes at the diversity of skill sets that we all have. And I think for us just starting off in a generation where things were just thrown at us, right. Because we were transitioning into this new, new phase of the information age, I'm going to call it. And that made a huge difference. It meant that we were operating in a different vein. We were operating under the, we have to know how to do everything relatively. Well, it was just a little bit different, more so than the we'll call it industrial age, where you focus on your peg and you just got to turn that peg, you know, the right way. So it's, it's different. Um, and I think it helps in terms of leadership though.

Shamil Rodriguez (17:26): I think it does help because one thing that you said here that I wanted to make sure I mentioned is that we also had to learn how to like, operate on our own because there were less, uh, helpers to help you get things done. Right. So I've loaded, at least from my experiences that I've had to, uh, make sure all these digital skills that I have. I actually, sometimes I'm teaching other people when I get to certain places because they may not the technology know-how of doing certain things with Excel or Microsoft. These are basic skills, but like to us, because we grew up with that. But that's something that like volunteering and just spending my free time, learning how to do a really ended up paying off in a big way and like ultimately house and pay my student loans. Yeah.

Daphné Vanessa (18:08): And patients. Right. I think for me, I learned patience.

Shamil Rodriguez (18:16): Yeah. I mean, you have a great history of volunteering in terms of service and being in that space. I mean, let's get into how volunteering both for nonprofits and for-profits, uh, got you. Started Def.

Daphné Vanessa (18:28): Yeah. So I, I don't know where to begin. I've been doing it for so long. Um, I would say even secondary school, I was still sort of in the communities where I operated, but let's just to create a line we'll start in college or no, we could do senior year. So, so my senior year of secondary or wait, hold on. How does it, how do you say it here again? High school? Yes. Um, my senior year of high school, I did a lot of work in the community where I lived outside of the United States. And that helped me land an internship with the United nations in that country. And that was sort of my first official, I'd say volunteering opportunity for like a large organization. And I did everything. Obviously I was a kid, everything, everything reasonable, um, and you know, worked super late hours in the summer, the whole, the whole thing.

Daphné Vanessa (19:36): But I was, I don't know, I was a kid I wasn't even 18 years old, so I just did whatever they said. They couldn't figure out back then Excel integrating with the things. So I was figuring out VBA at a young age because they just didn't want to do it. Um, and so that helped me later on, because my first official internship with a large organization, they expected everybody to know how to code. They were like, you've made it here. You should know. And, uh, I think it helped to have that foundation, right. That, so volunteering gave me a concrete skill set, like VBA Excel, like that's very concrete. And, um, I don't think it was called that then it, the names have changed. Um, that, that helped a lot, I think just would have never known how to do that if I wasn't asked to do it.

Daphné Vanessa (20:37): And then, um, when college started, I just was obsessed with all of the different opportunities that the universities that I attended offered. And I, I did everything. I did everything from like playing the piano for the homeless to actually helping nonprofits create, uh, marketing videos. And we did mini documentaries. We did a lot of research. I have to say in the industry that I studied research was like everything. And so all of the grunt work, the surveys, the data collection, all that stuff I did. And fast forward, many years later, data is a big deal.

Speaker 4 (21:23): Good job. Would I have known that I would have never known that I would have never known.

Daphné Vanessa (21:29): I just got super lucky that the positions that I was in and the skills that I was forced to develop ended up being very useful.

Shamil Rodriguez (21:39): See. So, so would you say that when you volunteer, these organizations are willing to test out some of these like feature face thing, ideas on you because you're not getting paid, right. Like, Hey, let's try out this researcher data. Let's test out this idea with this intern. Right. And let's see, you know, how it helps us and all of a sudden, you're the beneficiary you're getting. Or would you say that that's, I guess something, I didn't think about that angle. That's something I'm thinking about now as we're going over. It, it

Daphné Vanessa (22:06): Definitely does. And I think even transferring information, there's a teaching element that, that you don't realize is going to be useful until you go into the workforce and you realize that everybody's smart in their particular industry and not everybody knows everything. And so you learn that part of, part of becoming what's considered good is being able to dissect complex information and boil it down to something that anybody can understand. And you really learned that working for a nonprofit because the nonprofit arena, like people are focused on doing good period. They don't want to know the details. They don't want to know any of the complex, they're focused on their area of doing good and making impact and anything. That's not that world. They quite literally, I've heard people that say, like, they just don't even know because they've been in nonprofit sector, their entire lives.

Daphné Vanessa (23:02): And so those people, um, have not a one track mind, but they're very focused on delivering the good towards the group of people that they want to help. And that's it, or the, the environment or the cause that they're focused on. And that means that any of the logistics that make their operation work, they're like just boil it down for me into like readable terms that anybody can understand. So I know what decision to be made. And so that's a skill that's super transferable. As you learn that as you go up the corporate ladder, if you're doing corporate America or as you're working, even in your own business, you need to look for investors. You need to be able to translate complex information into boil down simplified terms. And I learned that through volunteering because nonprofits had no time,

Speaker 4 (23:58): They were like, we are here to help the homeless,

Daphné Vanessa (24:01): Or we like, I have 4,000 miles to feed this morning for breakfast. Like I don't have time to think about our taxes, our tax, like that was just not important to them because they were focused on the end result of helping people. So what I saw is that causes have a lot of similarities across the world. So in a homeless shelter is focused on this, a lot of the same issues in the United States as they are in Italy, as they are in France, as they are in Haiti. Like a lot of the same concerns are similar by industry. And so it helps you have a little bit of a global perspective if you're working with a nonprofit that has global reach,

Shamil Rodriguez (24:44): I think, uh, speaking of global reach, uh, let's not forget that you had some experience with, uh, organizing folks overseas in terms of volunteering. And so I'm not the only one that has organizing skills. Uh, you developed that, uh, while you were, uh, well, I have not gotten bills passed. No, but can you speak to side note? Can we speak, can you speak to, uh, the skills that you developed while you were, you were running that program overseas,

Daphné Vanessa (25:17): Or I should say I haven't gotten bills passed through people organizing. There are other ways. Um, so yeah, there was, there was a lot of interaction with people too, I guess. Um, when you're talking about organizing a service program, though, it's a little bit different in that you're focused on the nonprofits. So my relationships were mostly focused on making sure the nonprofits fell sustained, making sure that the students who were volunteering for the nonprofits had the requisite skillset to actually provide the service that the nonprofit needed. So it was a little bit more institutional and less focused on the individual volunteers. Although I of course interacted with them. I had to think about how to motivate volunteers and things like that. But the main role was partnerships with nonprofits and making sure that as a whole, the service opportunities that were represented could benefit the university as a whole, like the students as a whole were getting a complete service learning experience is what it was called back then. I don't know if the term

Speaker 4 (26:23): Is no,

Shamil Rodriguez (26:25): That's a good, that's a really good point that you bring up there. Daphne. What about, what about volunteering for profit organizations, right. As a way to get your career started? I know you've got some really great experience and a great story behind how that happened for you. Yeah.

Daphné Vanessa (26:39): Two of them sort of stand out to me, one along the lines of the global service program is that while I was there, I volunteered for a private school, um, where I taught music and the catches that because I was in Italy, the students spoke Italian. And so at the time, you know, I moved to Italy, not speaking Italian fully [inaudible]

Speaker 4 (27:03): And

Daphné Vanessa (27:03): It was Forrest immediately, any and people who, you know, no instrumentation and play instruments and read music, no, that notation is in Italian, right? Midsole, piano, all those terms, it's Italian. So there is a foundation that I had and obviously taking Latin for many years, there was a foundation, but I was not fluent in Italian. And I was forced to learn Italian because I was a music teacher for cute little kids. I don't know what the equivalent is. Um, but I think it would be the equivalent of maybe kindergarten or first grade. Yeah. Like kindergarten, first grade. So, you know, adorable fairy, cute kids who just wanted to learn music and were so well-behaved, except

Speaker 4 (27:52): For one [inaudible] stood out. But, uh, he's doing very well

Daphné Vanessa (27:58): Today, actually. But so, so that, that school, um, was a private institution. It was a private school, but working for them, I learned an entire language. So I mean, I think learning a language just opens a whole new world, ladies and gentlemen. And I, that's why one of my goals in life is to learn as many languages as I can, but learning a language, opens up a whole new invite, a whole new group of people, new friends, new everything, food experiences. So I was very excited to learn at a practical level Italian. And it was because I was teaching school. So I had to, I had to create a lesson plan. I had to meet with the other teachers and the principals. And so there was a forced interaction that I did and I did it for free. And so that helped me improve my language skills. That's very concrete.

Shamil Rodriguez (28:54): That's a good one. Yeah. That's a good one to you. You were like, all right, I can get the skill, do it for free and help some people while I'm at it. Like that's such a creative way. I mean, people pay for these programs like, you know, to learn a language on your phone or this or that on the computer, but you were like, I can volunteer. And, and there's this concrete benefit that you still can utilize the day. So good. What about the second example that you have? I think there's another great one too.

Daphné Vanessa (29:20): I just want to, so it was not perfect. I just want to say that there was a lot of failing. There was a, a lot of making

Speaker 4 (29:26): Mistakes and using the wrong term being

Daphné Vanessa (29:29): Corrected by the students. So it was not a perfect experience. I, I want to just share that. Well, now

Shamil Rodriguez (29:35): Here's the benefit to you? Weren't getting fired because you were a volunteer, right? Like I'm saying, like they had no one else, God bless them, you killed it. But I think the idea for everyone to listen to it, I think this is a good, a good point. Is that not just because we're highlighting, we're highlighting. So the highs of our volunteer experiences doesn't mean that they, they came without, uh, mistakes or obstacles along the way. Right? You, the other side of this coin is that you get to learn from your failures as you're interning, and as I fell forward, it's not detrimental to your career. Uh, and it's something that you can learn from, uh, so that when you get the job of your dreams, you avoid that, that pothole that you had fallen into when you were a volunteer.

Daphné Vanessa (30:18): Yes, yes, absolutely. Um, so for profits story, the other for-profit story is I was a publicist and I started off as a publicist for free. I did not get paid for my first, uh, sort of jobs in the industry. And back then, I think I'm not sure, but I think that was pretty standard because, you know, you're around big celebrities and it's so cool. Everybody wants to do it. Everybody's beautiful. So there is sort of like just having that free opportunity was a big deal. Supposedly we were told, who knows. It's like, actually

Speaker 4 (31:01): Everyone was very beautiful though.

Daphné Vanessa (31:04): Um, and so that was, I just did that for fun. I got super lucky that I randomly was, I think, how did I, how did I get that opportunity? I was studying for the L sat. So at that point, my parents came down and said, it's time to go to law school. And I was like, what? I'm enjoying life. And they were like, no, it's time to go to law school. I'll talk more about this in another episode. But basically when you have Caribbean parents, you're forced to either become a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer. Those are the only three career paths. And so I had that conversation and started to just do the steps so that I could still be subsidy.

Speaker 4 (31:51): Sorry, I just took the ALSAC class it and whatever, not really

Daphné Vanessa (31:56): Paying attention. And of course I make friends with somebody amazing who happens to be in a relationship at the time with this big deal publicist for major celebrities. And we just vibe like this is about

Speaker 4 (32:12): Networking. We just [inaudible],

Shamil Rodriguez (32:16): That's so true. You're doing something completely different. And

Speaker 4 (32:20): Then, because I of course become friends with the best people and all of my friends are

Daphné Vanessa (32:25): The best. Uh, I just not biased at all. So there was a shiny

Speaker 4 (32:29): Object in the room. And then I,

Daphné Vanessa (32:33): At the time we just start vibing and we're kind of in ALSAC class, but not. And so we develop a relationship. We hang out after et cetera, and he introduces me to his partner and we hit it off. And he's like, you would be perfect for, I don't know if I'm allowed to say the show. So I'm just not going to say the show, but you would be perfect for this opportunity. What do you think? And I don't for people who know me, I don't watch a lot of television, so I actually didn't know who, like I had, I didn't know exactly who they were. I was aware of the show because of just reading the wall street journal, but I wasn't aware of who the individuals

Shamil Rodriguez (33:20): Were. So even though you didn't know the individual or the show that didn't stop you from taking advantage of the opportunity. Right.

Daphné Vanessa (33:28): Because I saw the, the huge impact of unscripted television. So it was unscripted television. And I, I was like, sure, like, it sounds great. It sounds

Speaker 4 (33:39): Really fun. I see

Daphné Vanessa (33:41): Pictures from my, I don't want to invade people's privacy, but for my friend in class who, you know, he would show me pictures of things he was going to and stuff. And I was

Speaker 4 (33:51): Like, yeah, that looks like that. That's what I want to be doing. That's back to the

Shamil Rodriguez (33:57): College parties that you could have put in your resume.

Speaker 4 (33:59): They're coming in handy now.

Daphné Vanessa (34:01): Exactly. People are like, how did you become an attorney? Again, guys, people have lives. Okay. That's just the truth. Um, so yeah, they, they, they, I just, it looked like fun too. There was no other thing that it looked like fun and they said, it's going to be free. And I was like, who cares? It looks like fun. So I did that. And they loved like the organization that I brought from my previous experiences. And then that applied to fund means that things just went smoothly and product launches went well. And you know, it was a great experience, I think for everybody and you, I developed very close relationships with super cool people. And some people that I met that I'm still very close with today, I've met through that industry basically. And so I was exposed to a new industry that I didn't necessarily study, but I could say that I served as the chair of the public relations.

Shamil Rodriguez (35:06): You did some point, but so, so that counts, so definitely let's let the audience know. So are you saying that these skills that you developed through volunteering ended up helping you in one way or another and like are still helping you to this?

Daphné Vanessa (35:20): Oh, yeah, for sure. I mean, you can just point to the fact that when I started traditional work, um, I was able to have a mental outlet, right. Because the long days the spreadsheets and, and, and cases, and always having to be, you know, at top level, it was really nice to have a group of people that after work, before the pandemic I can go to and just be myself. So I think that was a great opportunity is just personally having a group of people where you could be yourself. Um, and then from a practical perspective, I was able to understand the benefit of marketing and how that translates to sales. And so those are two keys that, you know, you don't study in law school. So, um, I think that that was a win.

Shamil Rodriguez (36:18): That's great. I think that's an amazing point that you bring up there. Um, and you still use those skills today and at the same thing for me from the volunteer perspective, but I think it might be a good time now to kind of recap for everyone. Um, or Daphne, did you want to dive into, uh, some of like the main points or takeaways that people should, you know, implement as they're listening to this episode,

Daphné Vanessa (36:43): Let's talk about some steps people can take to maximize your career outcomes from volunteering. So volunteering is a great opportunity as we've covered with our personal experiences and just some of the standard examples. And so we want to share with you what are steps that you can take to maximize career outcomes when you're volunteering for various organizations. So the first thing I think we should talk about is assessing the outcome. So what do you want out of your degree? Where do you want to end up? That's the first thing that you should think about when you're planning your volunteering route? So some of the questions or actions that you need to take actually are making a list of industries that you're interested in based on your degree, or maybe not based on your degree, but what are some of the industries that you want to be in?

Daphné Vanessa (37:36): This applies to people who want to work for somebody else or people who want to be entrepreneurs, right? Because their industries regardless. And so you need to target your industry that you want to be in, whether you'd like to be an entrepreneur or you hope to work for somebody else. Um, and then from there you make specific job target lists. So in X industry, I'd like to be in, and here are some names of companies or names of, of business ideas that I have that are going to come out of this industry. And from there you look at, okay, what professional organizations are tied to the industry and these specific companies, right? Make those lists. So you have three lists that you're working with as a foundation to identifying volunteering opportunities related to those jobs. So the two ways I would look at to identify are either skills or jobs, targets, skills, targets are looking at non-profit opportunities based on what skill you're developing. So you're studying marketing, you've identified major marketing firms that you'd like to work for. And you know, that there are five skills that you need to develop. Where are those five skills and volunteering opportunities in which nonprofits have them, that's a skills target. The next are job targets. So people may not be as aware that there are nonprofits that have established relationships with major companies. And if you can find that information out, thank you, Google and other search engines, you can, one

Shamil Rodriguez (39:15): Of the company's websites. Well, sad.

Daphné Vanessa (39:19): You said you can distinguish yourself in an interview. So I know that X company has a long standing relationship with X nonprofit, and I actually volunteered with them for X number of time doing this skill that's related to the job that I'm applying for, that stands out. And if you can do that, you can really position yourself to get the job of your dreams. What do you think should be

Shamil Rodriguez (39:46): Wow. That was really good. I think you hit it right on the head. I think for me as a, as a listener of our own pod, too, and just generally, um, some of the points that you said, like Google, I like the nuts and bolts of it as well. Right? It's very, it's very, um, step oriented, right? You're targeting your skills that you want, the, uh, organizations that are related to the industry that you want to be in some of the job targets, but something I'd like to is that not just Google or the websites, but LinkedIn is a great resource. I always look at it as like, you almost create a profile is how I looked at it, right. When I listened to the skills it's, it's, you're creating the profile of the professional you want to be. And at that, at this point in time, there may be somebody who's already in that role.

Shamil Rodriguez (40:28): And so you start to kind of profile these people and you say, okay, they went to this school or they learn these skills. Or, um, I looked at job listings to see what, what skills are being required to even apply for jobs. What certifications are out there, right? And so you start kind of building this profile of what you are going to be at some point in time, based on what you want to see accomplished in your life. And you can now use volunteering to get your foot in the door, to build those skills like Daphne said, or to find the job targets that you're looking for, or to get, get your foot in the door in the industry that you want to be in. Right. So use all the resources out there. Um, listen to podcasts of those people that you've found that are in the roles and that are in the jobs that you want to be in.

Shamil Rodriguez (41:12): Right. Listen to them. If they're getting interviewed, watch them on YouTube. If they've, you know, had like a Ted talk or something and then reach out, you would be surprised at how many people we know then stories that have been shared with us, where somebody sent like a Facebook message or an Instagram post, or liked a message on somebody's wall. And then all of a sudden that led to a conversation that led to an interview referral to somewhere else in their field. You just don't know where it's going to go. So I really love the organization, Daphne, which you are very well known for do, despite my partying and bringing this to the, to the audience of the show, because these are really tangible steps that you can take that are going to impact your career. Not that might, but that are going to impact your career. And most importantly, make your degree.

Daphné Vanessa (41:57): Yep. Yeah, definitely. And so after you've identified where you're going, you know what, you know, the end goal. Now it's time to kill it. You should treat your volunteering opportunity. Like it's your actual first day on the job. Yes. You want to make a good impression because you never know who, who somebody knows and the people that you're volunteering with, especially if they have a standing relationship with the company that you want to work for, they're going to talk. And if they see you stand out in a good way, they're going to say that if you stand out in a bad way, they may share that as well. And so you want to make sure that, that, you know, how many applications are, are major companies getting like a lot, right? So standing out is not only taking action by volunteering, but standing out when you do volunteer. And we're just going to quickly talk about some ways that you can stand out, right. First show up on time. That sounds very simple. But for people like me, I needed to

Speaker 4 (43:07): Hear this. I needed to hear that,

Daphné Vanessa (43:12): Um, showing up on time is so important. Um, it's, it's, it's crazy how just being in the right place creates opportunities. And so if you don't show up at all missed opportunity, and if you don't show up on time, missed opportunity. So being there and being there on time is actually more important than you think

Shamil Rodriguez (43:40): Well said. Well said. I think one of the one takeaway that I think for killing the game, when you get it, that I would want listeners to hear is care. Like actually care. I know a lot of times people volunteer, oh, it's just a volunteer. I'm not getting paid for this. That is not the case. Like people will recognize that you care. And here's another point like as somebody who has had many interns and volunteers, um, you are willing to be more flexible and patient and work with somebody who may be like not getting it because they care and they want to do well. Versus like the person that like you can tell is only here because they just want to put a bullet point on the resume. It just it's wholly is such a turnoff. You're not getting like, I hope I'm making that very clear. We

Speaker 4 (44:25): Can totally tell so

Shamil Rodriguez (44:28): Care about what you're doing, because guess what? This is your time that you're using. It's not only about the pay you're using your time, which is not refundable to be here. So you might as well make it worth it and, and give

Daphné Vanessa (44:39): Your best effort. That's a very good one. That's a really good one. Um, and then I don't know how to say this in a way that's not nerdy, but documenting. You need evidence of your experience. So to the extent possible from, you know, based on the agreement between you and the nonprofit, you want to be able to see what you can document. Is it pictures? Is it work-product? Is it, what are you taking away as an artifact, um, or to portfolio, to put into your, your portfolio, I guess it is of, of how you prove that you did good work. And so that could be actual work product. It could also be a letter of recommendation, right? It could be a letter of recommendation from somebody that you worked with that showcases what you did. And so you should go in there, do your best, be on time, care about what you're doing, and then make sure to evidence your work so that you make it a part of your portfolio and application package when you're applying.

Shamil Rodriguez (45:41): And one, one little add on there, Daphne, um, that I think people should do, or at least that worked well for me was I used to have like a draft resume. Uh, and so I would always just add those bullet points of like ideas of things that I did, not in the format of the resume writing, but just generally, like if I did something cool or like I got experience in some area that I didn't anticipate, I would, I would just drop in a bullet point that said like, oh, today I was able to do X, Y, and Z, or like, I got this, I got this compliment from this person today. Just so that when the internship was over, I could like, you know, target those areas and like walk away, like you said, with tangible.

Daphné Vanessa (46:16): Yup. Yup. And also use that to help people. Right? If somebody is writing a letter of recommendation for you, they're probably busy. So a hint that you didn't know, you were going to learn on this podcast episode is to draft the letter for them. Mm draft a letter of recommendation for your recommender, incomplete, give it to them in words that they can update it and then they have less work to do. Yeah.

Shamil Rodriguez (46:41): Yeah. You'd be surprised how much faster you get your letter of recommendation. And like, unfortunately it does seem like when you need a letter of recommendation, you do the like right away. So that's really good advice. I think the best way to help your recommender, give you a quick turnaround and sign that letter of recommendation is write it for them.

Speaker 4 (47:00): Absolutely great, great advice. Yeah.

Daphné Vanessa (47:03): I, I, I didn't realize, but that's how, that's what I did since. I mean, I don't remember how long let's not talk ear.

Speaker 4 (47:12): That's what I've been doing for

Daphné Vanessa (47:13): A while. And it's been very helpful for me because, um, and even in LinkedIn, right, you can write the recommend and I don't leverage LinkedIn as much as you do, but you can write the recommendation for the person and they edit it. People have done that for me. And that's been helpful.

Speaker 4 (47:29): Me. It's a red recommendation for other people. That's

Daphné Vanessa (47:32): Why I'm bringing it up. It's because I've used it in the reverse. Yeah.

Shamil Rodriguez (47:35): Yeah. It absolutely works. That's a great one.

Daphné Vanessa (47:38): And then now that you've done a great job, you've evidenced everything. You have bullet points in your resume to know what happened. So you can carry on, follow up, keep a relationship with the people that you developed on the job, essentially, because while it's a volunteering opportunity, you should look at it as a job. You should keep strong relationships, professional relationships that you hope to strengthen as time goes on, keep them updated with things you're doing. Chanel's has really good advice on sort of like keeping engaged with people over long periods of time because he's yeah, man, I go, I guess the old school style.

Speaker 4 (48:19): Um, no, but I think

Shamil Rodriguez (48:23): What a great introduction there, Daphne, I love that handoff. You're an old man. So talk about this stuff. Um, no, I, I think a follow up is important, right? It's uh, you know, you ever have like a bad customer service experience and like always sticks in your mind. Right. Uh, but what about like the really good ones? And so I take that, I take that mindset of like anybody that I'm interacting with in any capacity, I'm trying to provide them with good customer service that like just works for me in my head. I could just fix it. Right. And so what's good customer service, oh, you called me on my birthday. Or you sent me a text, even a text and say, Hey, happy birthday people that I haven't spoken to in years, I still send them the happy birthday texts, just because it matters.

Shamil Rodriguez (49:02): Like, it's just a nice way to say, Hey, you know what somebody thought of me and I'm not forgotten. Right. Um, other ways the good follow-up is like something big in your life happens. Send that a BCC. Like I have a BCC list that I literally, as I go through my life, it's really, since I'm an old man, now it's a pretty large list now at this point. But like people have said to me over the years, mentors of mine and be like, oh, you know, like I was really happy that you shared that, you know, the thing that happened in your life

Speaker 4 (49:26): With me, that was really nice of you. It's just like, I'm going to start doing that. That's a good one. So,

Shamil Rodriguez (49:33): You know, Hey, I graduated from law school or Hey, I got into law school or, you know, uh, you know, here's this happening in my life. You know, I think it would be really cool for you to know that just to know, not to get something out of it, just to share the good news in my life. Right. So these are the, I guess, are those the types of things you had in mind that are exactly what I was, I don't have a physical Rolodex, but you know, I still do know, but the, those are like, those are some of the tips and tricks that I guess, um, the, and I guess the mindset that I have when it comes to following up, uh, it was just, you know, provide customer service to anyone that you interact with. Right. And then make them feel important by remembering things that important that are important to them and then share highlights in your life with them. What had happens and without expecting anything in return, such good

Daphné Vanessa (50:18): Advice. I, like I said, I'm going to start implementing some of that of such good advice to bill. And so with doing all this guys, you can make your degree worth it. Right. People often ask, is it worth it, make your degree worth it.

Shamil Rodriguez (50:35): Yes. It's all about your mindset on that seriously. Seriously.

Daphné Vanessa (50:38): Yeah, definitely. So I think we definitely summarized how volunteering helps you land your dream job. We would love to hear from you what some thoughts are that you've had some experiences, even some questions that you might have feel free to drop us a note and send us an email. My email is daphne@startnewdotcomminusshamilatstartnew.com. And we would love it. If you could just send us an email asking us, you could also engage with us on social media, but I have to admit, I check, uh, email more, whatever, whatever works for you, let us know what's going on in your life and how volunteering has helped you land a dream job, or if you need help. And we're happy to work with you. So keep in touch everybody. We love doing this episode. We've gotten messages asking for more lessons. So here we are giving you another lesson and we hope that you enjoy this episode.

Shamil Rodriguez (51:34): Absolutely. Thank you guys so much for listening and for more information on this episode, please check out the show notes@thestudentloanpodcast.com forward slash episode 33. That's the suitor loan podcast.com forward slash episode 33.

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