In addition to updating your resume, networking, and being active in your search, volunteering can also make you a stronger job candidate. The Corporation for National and Community Service tracked more than 70,000 people between 2002 and 2012 and found that those who volunteer had a 27% better chance of finding a job than those who didn’t.
According to the authors of the study, acquiring skills or knowledge as a volunteer and then putting them to use may “demonstrate higher levels of capacity, potentially making the volunteer more attractive to and productive for employers.”
Forbes notes that while these results are important for all job seekers, they’re especially welcome news for the nation’s 4.4 million long-term unemployed (those out of work for at least six months.) That’s because the longer you’re unemployed, the weaker your social networks tend to be and the harder it then becomes to get a referral.
Of all the employment-related benefits of volunteering, two stand out:
- Volunteering helps lift job seekers’ spirits by making them feel needed and productive.
- Volunteering lets you expand your network of contacts easily and effectively.
Employers like to hire people who can demonstrate that they’re motivated and hard working, even if they haven’t been getting paid for their efforts lately. Volunteering can also provide you with an insider’s advantage if the nonprofit has an opening for a paid position.
How has volunteering helped your job search? Have you gotten a job offer from a volunteer opportunity? Leave a comment in the box below.