The Value of Volunteering

Question:

Would volunteering help my job search efforts? If so, where do I go, and how do I get started?

Answer:

Yes! Studies show that putting volunteer work on your resume increases your chances of being hired by approximately 27%.

You’ll get the most bang for your buck if you can volunteer with a company you’d like to work for. That way, you get to know them from the inside. They get to know you too (and like you, surely.) It’s worth your time to do the research and identify a few companies that do what you think you want to do, and ask if they take volunteers.

What if none of those companies accept volunteers or interns? Then look at organizations that will help you build the skills you need to get the job you want. A non-profit group, optimally related to the job you want, will be delighted to provide you with experience in return for free labor. Don’t overlook your church/synagogue/mosque or other religious group. Experience is valuable, no matter where you get it.

If that doesn’t work out either, then choose a group that does something you’re passionate about. You’ll probably find one at the United Way.

No matter where you volunteer or what you do, you will be actively engaged in networking. Networking is crucial to job search; 75% of job seekers find their jobs that way. Whoever you work with can provide information, additional contacts and references. You’re getting out of the house, and using your brain, possibly in new ways. You’re gaining successes, because you’re doing something that’s close to your heart.

While you’re gathering all that, you’re providing a much-needed service to someone who needs what you have to share. You’re filling a gap, possibly, in your work history. You’re showing employers that you’re active in the community, and spending your time doing meaningful work. There’s no downside here.

So get out there and find the group that needs you. You’ll be glad you did!

Julie Anderson