Volunteer to Gain New Job Opportunities

10 May

Becoming a volunteer can help job seekers find their next paid opportunity.

“Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get”…….. Ray Kroc

Gaps in employment consistently create problems for job seekers everywhere.  When an individual finds him or herself between jobs, volunteering is one way to continue gaining useful skills and experience, while giving back to the community.  In fact, becoming a volunteer can be a way for individuals to separate themselves from competition in the job market, and create new opportunities for full-time employment. 

Here are the top reasons to volunteer, and how this can assist job seekers in finding paid opportunities.

1.  New networking connections.

Joining a company as a volunteer enables the job seeker to expand their professional network, and even open the back door to a new job.  Nearly every major company donates in some way to a local charity or cause.  The management-level associates within the volunteer organization are almost always on a first name basis with high-ranking officials in area businesses.  Why not leverage the new relationships formed during the volunteer experience, to meet influential employers and hiring managers?  

2.  Gain an excellent, local reference.

When an individual volunteers in their community and performs the tasks assigned as requested, they position themselves to receive an excellent reference they can add to the list, and a position held that can be added to their resume.  This can prevent gaps in employment, and keeps the job seeker’s skills fresh.

3.  Contact target employers not hiring, and determine if they can use a volunteer.

When attempting to uncover new opportunities, it is essential to think “out of the box.”  A job seeker may have submitted a resume for a paid position, and received a turn-down letter, because the company is not hiring at the moment.  Call and pitch the idea of adding a new volunteer to the department.  In many cases, getting a foot in the door with a company is really all it takes to land the job when openings are available.  Small businesses, publicly traded companies, and government organizations are known to utilize volunteers in some capacity.

Volunteering can be an excellent way for job seekers to connect with the right people, and help others.  Here is a list of organizations who are currently seeking volunteer assistance:

  • The American Red Cross – Volunteers are the heart of the American Red Cross, and we’d like you to join us. We depend on nearly 1 million volunteers nationwide to carry out our mission as the world’s leading humanitarian relief agency.
  • American Cancer Society – Together with our more than 3 million volunteers across the country, we’re working to create a world with more birthdays – where cancer never steals another year from anyone’s life. Every day, we save lives by helping people stay well, helping people get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back. We combine our relentless passion with the wisdom of nearly a century of experience, and we get results.
  • American Heart Association – show off management and leadership skills by planning and hosting a fundraising event that helps wipe heart disease and stroke off the map! 
  • ASPCA – Today, volunteers assist in the care and placement of the animals housed in our shelter, educate the public and provide support for administrative programs.

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