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.