Career as a volunteer

Job hunting can be a full-time job. With the current state of our economy, it has the potential to be the hardest and most frustrating experience we will ever be exposed to. One issue with the hunt for the perfect job is that the companies we dream of working for never seem to have any openings or we “just-miss” the deadline. It makes you wonder, “How can I get my foot-in to a company that may not have a job posting?” That’s easy — just volunteer! Participating in the simplest form and act of kindness can help you land that dream job (or at least get you in the door to the company) which you have been fantasizing about. Volunteering in your community can be rewarding for many reasons such as: you get to help others and also you are giving back to your community. While experiencing this personal growth gained by helping others, volunteering will also help with professional growth by gaining new experiences and meeting new people.

College students and recent graduates know the importance of having an aspect of volunteering on their resume. This simple addition can be beneficial for anyone building a resume. For fresh job-seekers, volunteering can help round out your experience and show that you not only have built professional skills but interpersonal ones as well. It can also help fill a gap in your résumé if you’ve been out of a job for a while. This extra-added perspective will allow you leverage to market yourself as a committed citizen who took advantage of their time away from the professional-world to help others in your community.

What can it do for you? Simple; it allows you to develop new skills or nurture existing ones.  When volunteering in your community you are forced to talk to others in that organization. This interaction shows others the skills you have or ones you wish to develop or improve upon.  Even if the skills you learn do not exactly transfer over to a potential job opportunity, it will show prospective employers that you took the time when you were in need to help others.  Anyone who is interested in taking charge of their career, whether currently employed or not, should volunteer.  It is the best-kept career development secret.  Not only is it a great way to network, it is a wonderful chance to learn how to motivate others in a positive way, become a leader, and to maintain job skills.

The unemployment rate continues to grow and for those who of us awaiting a job offer, it can be quite unsettling. While waiting for your future , rather than pacing around your apartment, you can make the most of your time by helping others in your community There are numerous websites which can help you join forces with a group who needs your time to assist. Volunteermatch.com should be your first place to search for volunteer opportunities in your local community. You can type in your city or zip code and a generated list and map gives you details on current volunteer opportunities and how to get involved.  This website allows you free reign in picking and choosing your destiny while matching your skills with an organization.

While volunteering, strike up conversations with others. If appropriate, give out your contact information or ask for theirs. Sure, it might take you out of your comfort zone, but you never know where it might lead. Volunteering will empower you and empower others. You get what you put in, so don’t give up hope if you are jobless — pick yourself and others up and volunteer!

– Michela Noreski, Jordan Hill, Ashley Nelson

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