There are some standard reasons to volunteer while you are job searching:

  • Volunteer work provides structure to your days
  • Doing good for others helps to boost your morale
  • Volunteering helps you to get out and meet new people who can expand your network
  • Volunteer work is enjoyable and meaningful

As part of a strategic job search there are other ways that volunteering is helpful.

  • If you have done a careful matching of the Essential Skills for your Job Goal, you may find that you have not demonstrated your excellent report writing skills, or presentation skills.  A volunteer position could help you to practice and demonstrate this skill.
  • If you are taking a skill-building course, a volunteer opportunity can demonstrate to an employer that you are able to apply your new learning in a voluntary capacity that can easily translate to a work environment.  You may have recently taken an income tax preparation course, and you are volunteering at a local agency to help low income individuals to complete their tax returns.
  • Volunteering demonstrates to an employer that you are a motivated person and that you are involved in your community.  You could ask the agency where you volunteer for a letter of reference to add to your portfolio.
  • If English is your second language, volunteering can offer you the opportunity to practice and apply your English language skills.
  • If you are looking for work or further education in the not-for-profit sector, volunteering in your sector demonstrates commitment and willingness to engage in broader learning.
  • The company you want to work for may support a local fundraising activity.  Offering to get involved in such an event as a volunteer gives you a rare opportunity to demonstrate how you can benefit the company.

When volunteering make sure that you follow appropriate workplace behaviour – arrive on time, do not miss scheduled days, stay in touch closely when illness prevents you from being at your volunteer job, and show them a positive spirit even when things are getting you down.

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