Let me ask, are you volunteering? If not, why? Really consider those questions… I run a nonprofit program dedicated to unemployed professionals that is completely run by over 55 volunteers, and almost all of them are professionals that have been in career transition. I am an advocate for volunteering and providing service to others, even in a time of great need such as career transition.
There are multiple reasons in which people should volunteer, especially while they are in transition, but let me focus on three…
1. NETWORKING!!! This is the epitome of networking. You are meeting people who share your same heart and desire to help, so you have an instant connection. It will be easy to make conversation and find more connections. This is one place in which you can meet like-minded people and network at the same time. When you are serving other people first, fulfill your commitments and do a great job, then they will be the first to recommend you and introduce you to others to assist in your job search.
2. CONFIDENCE!!! Many folks in career transition feel as if they have lost a sense of themselves, their giftedness and their value. I’ve heard from many candidates that volunteering has been significant in building their self confidence to move forward. You will utilize your skills and intelligence that are truly valued. If you seek out a volunteer position that is a good match for you and is appreciated by those in which you are serving, then it can truly build your self-confidence. One volunteer that I’ve worked with closely told me that when I thanked her for her work, talent and expertise that it actually made her cry. It was the first time in years (including when she was a corporate executive) that she actually felt valued.
3. EXPERIENCE!!! So many people these days are looking to completely change careers. One of the issues with completely changing careers is that you don’t have experience in that area. Volunteering for a company of interest or a similar nonprofit can give you that experience. You can actually include it right at the top of your resume under the experience section. Healthcare is an industry that requires training and experience. You can get the experience (and make great networking contacts within a company) just by volunteering a couple hours a week.
Though volunteering to help others in need while you are in great need yourself might seem to be a stretch, I promise you that it is much more worthwhile at least one day a week than sitting at home wondering how to find your next contact.
Praying for your landing into the career of your dreams!!!
Jessica Pierce is Career Transition Speaker, Trainer and Consultant. She is also the Executive Director of Career Connectors, a community program connecting real people with real careers who have helped over 4000 job seekers in the last 2 years.