PERKINS PROFESSIONAL SEARCH BLOG
Stuck in the Job Search? - August 25,20140 comments
THE POWER OF VOLUNTEERING
Devoting time to nonprofit organizations can pave the way to your new job
Volunteerism is a great way to make a difference for a cause that is important to you. It can also contribute to your sense of wellbeing, while helping to combat feelings of isolation and depression that are common symptoms of being unemployed. Besides benefitting your health and your community, volunteering can be incredibly beneficial to your job search. A 2013 survey conducted among hiring managers showed that an overwhelming 76% give preference to job candidates with volunteer experience (www.deloitte.com). Being a volunteer shows employers that you have ambition and are not sitting idle, waiting for an opportunity to come to you.
When you volunteer, you come in contact with many different individuals that you might not otherwise meet. These people can introduce you to others and so on and so forth, expanding your professional network exponentially. You can gain valuable referrals from this network of contacts and you never know who is going to be able to help you, or how.
DEVELOP IMPORTANT SKILLS
Working with others helps to develop your interpersonal skills but it also shows prospective employers that you are flexible, adaptable, able to commit to a cause and can manage your time and complete tasks.
Any time you are working in a new environment, you also develop transferrable skills. You may have the opportunity to use a new computer program or practice speaking in a second language. Perhaps your volunteer position will require you to do some public speaking or expand on your writing skills. Keeping your existing skills active is very important and volunteering can help you do that.
EXPLORE A NEW CAREER PATH
In a volunteer position, you can explore different industry sectors and the jobs available within them. The experience you gain while exploring new avenues can really help your resume to stand out and can also lead to unexpected opportunities.
BUILD YOUR CONFIDENCE
Feeling active, productive and useful can be just the boost you need to make your search for new employment more effective. You can also learn important things about yourself from volunteering, such as how others view your strengths and weaknesses.
GAIN IN-DEPTH UNDERSTANDING OF A CAUSE
Your willingness to seek out information and learn all there is to know about the cause you volunteer for can help you advocate for that cause in the future, which means you are making a difference long after you leave that role. It will also provide you with credibility should you be asked about your volunteer experiences in an interview situation.