Volunteer, and help your career.
January 24, 2009
Kelley Holland’s New York Times piece on volunteers and professionals points out that
Volunteer work can help unemployed professionals keep their spirits up, make new contacts or even to try a new field.
“Three-quarters of people find jobs through being out there, engaged and meeting people,” said John A. Challenger.
However, if volunteering remains a high-commitment activity, this trend will continue: “More than a third of the 61.2 million who volunteered in 2006 didn’t donate any time the next year.” [source: Corporation for National and Community Service]
Most professionals want to volunteer, at every stage of our careers. What we need are more high-impact, low-commitment opportunities to serve.
As the New York Times article points out, the benefits of volunteering to professionals are substantial, and include:
- Learning new skills and improving existing skills.
- Making new contacts and deepening existing contacts.
- Keeping our minds sharp by working in a different environment than we’re used to.
The benefits of volunteering to people entering (or re-entering) our careers are also substantial, and include:
- Learning new skills and making new contacts.
- Keeping our spirits up while we look for jobs.
- Offering new items to include on our resumes, that embody our values and showcase our commitments and follow-through, and that we have a service-oriented attitude.
In both cases, people can contribute something meaningful to a cause we believe in, and also benefit our careers while doing so. Volunteers and careers belong together, like chocolate and peanut butter.