When workers are unemployed and back on the job search, it can be easy to feel a sense of stagnation. However, keeping busy with volunteering can keep them focused.
An employment gap can be discouraging to job seekers, and it only gets worse as the time between work increases. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take during this period of unemployment to ensure that you do not fall behind in your career. One of the most effective ways to spend your time if you are out of work is to volunteer your services.
There are a wide range of volunteer opportunities that can help you find work, especially if the tasks you are helping with align with your career goals. Volunteering is an effective way to spend your time, and it can also offer you many rewards for your efforts. Learn more about the benefits of volunteering such as how it can help you in maintaining a healthy mindset and even finding a job.
1. You Can Stay Productive and Fill In Your Employment Gap
When you are unemployed and searching for a new job, volunteer opportunities offer you the chance to stay productive in the meantime. Since this commitment will usually be unpaid, you can choose to volunteer short-term or long-term. When you lend a hand to people in need, you can stay productive while spending your time in an enriching and satisfying way. While you are on your job search, you can spend your extra time volunteering to stay busy.
Many recent college graduates use the time before they get employment as an opportunity to volunteer abroad. However, this can be a good way for anybody who is unemployed to fill an employment gap with a fulfilling and productive opportunity while travelling. Large gaps in your employment can make employers wary about hiring you. Take the initiative and fill in your time away from work with productive volunteering jobs.
2. You Can Learn New Skills or Sharpen Your Existing Ones
If you are currently out of work, you can use the time for professional development that could potentially lead to new employment opportunities. Various volunteering opportunities will help prepare you for future careers by helping you stay adaptable and showing that you are always willing to learn. It can be especially beneficial to take some time to sharpen your skills or learn new ones, especially when you are still early in your career.
As you search for potential volunteer jobs, you should consider which job will allow you to utilize, refine and expand your skills. For example, if you want to work on your managerial skills, you could potentially volunteer as a chairperson or member on a committee for a local fundraiser. If you are looking to practice your public speaking and presentation skills, you should consider volunteering to teach, train or mentor others.
3. You Can Develop Your Personal Sense of Purpose
Finding volunteer opportunities that spark a passionate drive within you can help you develop a sense of purpose while you search for a new job. When you do volunteer work for a cause that you are passionate about, you will be able to carry yourself proudly knowing that you are making an impact.
The key is to find volunteer opportunities that you are interested in furthering, such as animal welfare, education, women’s rights issues or any other number of different causes. The more you offer your time to causes that matter to you, the more you will feel like your work and your time is being used effectively and your efforts are valued.
4. You Can Network and Make Valuable Connections
While you are on your job search, volunteering your time can be a great way to network and make valuable connections that could potentially lead to employment in the future. Networking is one of the most effective methods of job hunting. When you volunteer, you can connect with other professionals in your community.
Meeting people can be especially beneficial if you typically work from home. During your time volunteering, you should bring up the fact that you are looking for a job by:
- Ensuring that people in your immediate network know that you are currently on the job search.
- Volunteering in fields that are related to your career choice.
- Sharing your career goals with people that you meet while volunteering.
5. You Can Receive Advice and Support From Working Professionals
One of the most understated benefits of working volunteer jobs is the fact that you will be working alongside professionals in the field. These professionals are usually a wealth of information and advice, and they can help you out on your job hunt. They can provide you with some guidance on how to move forward in your field, outline potential job options and they can even refer you to other organizations that may be hiring.
Usually, when people are unemployed, their list of professional contacts begins to shrink. However, you can remain connected to the industry by volunteering and working alongside other professionals. You can use volunteer opportunities as a way to build rapport with these individuals and identify positions and opportunities of interest to you.
How to Find the Right Volunteer Opportunities
There are a number of different factors to consider when you are looking for the right volunteer opportunities to match your interests and skill sets. First, you will want to assess what skills you have to offer. Many organizations are looking for volunteers who can assist them with specific fields such as marketing, event planning, fundraising and more. Take the time to identify your hard and soft skills, as well as figuring out how you can use them to help different organizations.
Furthermore, you will want to think about why you are looking into volunteer jobs. For example, if you are volunteering in order to add fulfillment and purpose into your life, you will want to find opportunities to volunteer that satisfy those needs, even if these opportunities are not directly related to your career. If you are looking to volunteer to network, try to find an opportunity at a large organization where you will be able to meet and talk with different professionals and influential people.