By Erin Shutt
What is a volunteer anyway? Some may say a volunteer is someone who chooses to act in recognition of a need, with an attitude of social responsibility and without concern for monetary profit, to do the greater good. The Corporation of National & Community Service reported that in 2013, 62.6 million Americans volunteered nearly 7.7 billion hours annually. The total estimated monetary value of their volunteer service was nearly $173 billion.
Why do people volunteer? People volunteer for a wide variety of reasons, especially wanting to help others. But volunteering can be far more than simply doing a good deed. It’s also OK to receive benefits for yourself when volunteering. Studies have shown that volunteering has a positive effect on one’s mood, health, career and overall life satisfaction.
If you are unemployed, volunteering can be extremely beneficial to your job search. It is a great way to expand your network, develop skills, improve your resume, learn more about career options and gain new professional contacts while increasing your work experience, employment leads, and leadership opportunities. Volunteerism makes a positive impression in a competitive job market. When volunteers gain or update skills that are needed in the workplace through their community service activities, it may send a signal to employers that an individual is motivated and productive, making them more attractive to employers and increasing their chances of becoming employed. In fact, it has been found that volunteering can increase your chances of finding a position by 27%!
Network for Good offers these and other tips on volunteering wisely:
- Research the causes or issues important to you.
Look for a group that works with issues about which you feel strongly. You might already be giving money to one of these organizations, and that might be a good place to begin your volunteer experience
- Consider the skills you have to offer.
If you enjoy outdoor work, have a knack for teaching, or just enjoy interacting with people, you may want to look for volunteer work that would incorporate these aspects of your personality.
- Would you like to learn something new?
Perhaps you would like to learn a new skill or gain exposure to a new situation. Consider seeking a volunteer opportunity where you’ll learn something new
- Combine your goals.
Look for volunteer opportunities that will also help you achieve your other goals for your life.
- Give voice to your heart through your giving and volunteering!
Bring your heart and your sense of humor to your volunteer service, along with your enthusiastic spirit, which in itself is a priceless gift. What you’ll get back will be immeasurable!
To see the full list of Network for Good’s “10 tips on Volunteering Wisely,” visit www.networkforgood.org/volunteer/volunteertips.aspx
Today, people do most of their job hunting through the internet, but the truth is that less than 10% of people secure a job solely through an internet search. So, why not step outside the box by being more proactive, productive and even having some fun? Why not volunteer?
To Find Volunteer Opportunities:
“One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.” – Gordon Hinckle
By Erin Shutt, Supported Employment Specialist, JCS Career Center
Did you know…JCS currently has 200 active volunteers who enhance the lives of our clients by being Big Brothers and Big Sisters, friendly visitors, shopping assistants, translators, tutors, drivers and more? Community professionals volunteer their services providing legal advice, dental treatment and financial literacy education. Visit www.jcsbaltimore.org/volunteer or call 410-466-9200 to learn how you can make a difference.
The JCS Career Center is dedicated to helping individuals of varying ages, abilities, and levels of experience find and maintain employment.