How Volunteering Can Help Your Job Search


How volunteering can help your job searchResponding to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, TV Anchor Ann Curry tweeted, “Imagine if everyone could commit to doing one act of kindness for every one of those children killed in Newtown.” Since Curry’s original tweet, these acts of kindness have become ‘viral’, with #26Acts quickly becoming a trending topic on Twitter. Curry’s Acts of Kindness concept has also triggered people all over the world to perform a variety of ‘kind’ deeds and sign up for volunteer work.

Volunteering is positive on a number of levels. First, donating time to a cause one cares about is an admirable activity in itself, but also often provides a sense of personal satisfaction. Additionally, volunteering cultivate relationships by connecting people with others they may not have met otherwise. As a result, volunteering while unemployed may lead you to your next professional position.

The following are four ways volunteering can help make someone who is unemployed a more compelling candidate to an employer:

Possibility to learn new skills.

A volunteer position may enable you to acquire new skills and make you a well-rounded candidate.

Volunteering shows motivation and drive.

Employers often prefer to interview people who are active and productive in some capacity during unemployment. Having a volunteer job during unemployment can be a good talking point during a phone or in person interview.

Expand your network and make new contacts.

Jobs are often obtained through someone you know, and volunteering is a chance to expand your network. Joining a community service or a non-profit organization can provide a chance to hobnob with influential people in your community.

Help grow your self-confidence.

It is easy to diminish your sense of self if you haven’t worked for a while. Volunteering and helping others will almost certainly give you a lift. Also, becoming a key person in a nonprofit organization will likely boost your self-esteem and self-confidence.

If you decide to take on a volunteer job while unemployed, you should include your volunteer position details on your resume. Not only will you be erasing that “time gap” on your resume, you will also have some interesting experiences to share about your volunteer efforts with a prospective employer during an interview. In addition, volunteering during your job search will show your future employer that you had the determination and enthusiasm while unemployed to make productive use of your time outside of your job search.

Has volunteering helped your job search? Let us know in the comments below.

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About Barbara Feldman

Barbara primarily works with New England based companies providing consulting and permanent staffing services in the areas of EDI, Supply Chain, ecommerce, and Information Technology. She works directly with hiring managers and company recruiters to understand their staffing goals and requirements and position candidates in response to her client’s requirements.

She began her career working for GE Information Services and became responsible for growing their EDI practice in North America. She then joined Fidelity Investments and was chartered with automating their manual supply chain practices by implementing EDI and online requisitioning throughout Fidelity. Barbara has also worked as a Software and Services Account Manager at Sun Microsystems and Microsoft. She currently serves as a Board of Director Member of the New England Electronic Commerce User Group Association (NEECOM) and is a graduate of General Electric’s Management Corporate Training program. In her free time, Barbara enjoys tennis, cycling, travel, and spending time with her family and friends.

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