Helping others can help your career. If you need a break from the job search or want to build your book of skills, consider volunteering. It’s a great way to expand your marketability. Plus, volunteering makes you feel good. It might seem selfish to feel good when you are volunteering, but that’s one of the perks. When you are doing meaningful work, it can not only help the organization you are working with, but it can lift your spirits, too. Other benefits of volunteering include the potential to:
• Meet new people
• Make networking contacts
• Learn new skills
• Practice your skills
• Develop leadership skills
• Do something you never thought you’d do
• Do something you never thought you’d like to do
• Help causes you care about
And, your volunteer experience is great to include on your resume or to share as an example during an interview. You can also tweet or share LinkedIn or Facebook updates about your volunteer experience. It will show others what you’re up to and how you are actively working to build and use your skills.
Volunteering is a great reason to get out of bed in the morning. It gives you a break from the grind of looking for a job and allows you some time to meet new people while supporting a good cause. If you’re wondering where to volunteer, you don’t have to look far. Start by checking into causes/groups you have a personal interest in or check out local or national volunteer organizations, like United Way, idealist.org, or check a site like indeed.com and search for volunteer jobs.
One of my favorite volunteer experiences was for Junior Achievement. I loved getting into a classroom and teaching students about the world of work, in terms they could relate to. I think I missed my calling to become a teacher, but that’s an entirely different story.