By Rowe Leathers
Contributor and Career Coach, APUS
Is your ongoing job search creating a substantial employment gap on your resume? Rather than sit around waiting for employers to call you, take action now. Find a volunteer opportunity to sharpen your skills and develop new ones.
Volunteering is a respected and valid way to fill gaps between jobs. Giving time to a good cause is an excellent way to gain experience, learn new skills and network with other professionals.
Pick Your Volunteer Opportunities Carefully
Keep in mind that your talents and time are valuable; that will help you remain selective of the volunteer opportunities you choose. Treat the selection of volunteer work no differently from choosing your regular employment.
Organizations that hire volunteers welcome the extra help, as long as it is accompanied by enthusiasm and commitment. Ideally, the opportunities you choose should provide professional growth and networking.
Many Organizations in Wide-Ranging Fields Need Volunteer Help
Not quite sure where your talents will fit in the volunteer world? Consider the following suggestions:
Information Technology – Reach out to a nonprofit organization and offer your IT know-how to help that organization update and maintain its technology. They may also need help developing a website.
Business – Whether your specialty is marketing, fundraising or operations, a charity organization can use your help to keep its operations running smoothly and effectively.
Transportation and Logistics – Food banks would welcome your expertise and assistance in moving large volumes of inventory.
Arts and Humanities – Select an organization that will value your discipline of study, whether it is sociology, psychology, history or the arts. Many organizations will appreciate a volunteer who can add knowledge and experience to their cause.
Volunteering your time to a good cause is a great way to help you fill unemployment gaps on your resume. Also, volunteer work helps you recognize your talents, reminds you that there is value in the skills and knowledge you bring to that organization, and keeps you positive during your job search.