Volunteering is Beneficial to Your Career
To many, volunteering their time during a job search seems counterproductive. You are looking for a paying job, right? Why would giving your time away help to reach your goal? Let me share a quick story.
In November of 2011, I noticed a post to one of my local LinkedIn groups. Sue had just lost her job and set a goal to volunteer every day during the month of December and asked for recommendations as to where she could help. Well, the response was overwhelming and soon Sue had her calendar booked. She enjoyed her first few gigs so much that she started a blog detailing her experiences with the various non-profits and the people she was helping. People continued to comment on her LI post with more volunteer suggestions, her blog was mentioned, and more posts resulted about that. All in all, Sue’s visibility during that month sky rocketed!
Months later I met Sue in person at a networking event and learned that as a result of her volunteer efforts she received multiple job offers and has settled in to a job that she loves. She has also joined the board of directors for one of the agencies she helped and continues to volunteer for several projects she enjoyed.
Now, I’m certainly not suggesting that you volunteer your time every day for a month, but Sue was smart – her goal gained attention for her on LI; practically every day for a month her picture was in my email box as others added their responses to her post. And she met lots of people at the various functions. But when talking with her, she said the best part of the experience was the overwhelming pride she felt in having helped others. That was reward enough; the job offers were bonuses.
When you are involved in a job search, it can be defeating. Another benefit of volunteering is hearing “thank you” and knowing that others appreciate your efforts.
So how do you find volunteer opportunities? Do a Google search for volunteers in your town. Or, ask friends or past colleagues if they are involved with any organizations that need help. Also, if you have a friend or relative who is a member of a Kiwanis or Rotary club, these organizations are always involved in community projects and will welcome help from non-members.
Even if you are not currently involved in a job search, I recommend you volunteer for three reasons. First, you will be expanding your network and you never know when you might hear about a great new opportunity or your “dream” job. Second, it looks good on your resume. Employers are impressed by volunteer activities because they like their name associated with supporting the community. If they hire you, they know their company name will be mentioned. And finally, it feels good to give back!
Kathy Keshemberg is a Nationally Certified Resume Writer and Certified Career Management Coach. Since 1983, she has created thousands of interview-winning resumes and related job-search materials for satisfied clients around the world. Need assistance with your career? We’re here to help! www.acareeradvantage.com