Does Volunteering Get You Back to a Better Career, Faster?

Many know that it is good to volunteer regardless of whether you are employed or unemployed, or what ever race, sex, age, orientation, religion, economic status, or location that you are in. Volunteering goes a long way in our society today, especially during the recession. According to VolunteeringinAmerica.gov, there are 62.8 million adults volunteering each year, accounting for 8.1 billion hours of service, and totaling $173 billion worth or time given. The average per hour dollar amount of a time given by a volunteer is $21.79. That is far greater than most entry level jobs in our jobs market today. This illustrates the value of volunteering in our community today, and the impact that it can have on bringing us out of recession.

In 2011 there was an unemployment rate of 8.9%, and during the time of the greatest decline of jobs in the recession that rate was even higher. In places like California it reached the level of 12.1%. Fortunately, for our nation and our economy there was a surge of unemployed volunteers across the nation. In 2008 the percentage of unemployed who volunteered between jobs was 22.3%, and in 2009 they saw an increase of .6% to 22.9%. In 2009 we saw the unemployment rate go all the way up to 10% nationally. What this means is that of that 10% that was unemployed, there was only 22.9% of them that chose to volunteer during the times in between jobs.

One of the most frequently asked questions that an unemployed person receives from a potential employer is: What have you been doing in the time you were without a job? Answering the question with searching for a job, or staying at home is not a particularly strong answer from the perspective of the potential employer. Resume consultant Dorris Appelbaum says that the best thing that you can do to improve your resume and the chances of landing a job is “Learn something, take courses in something, preferably IT, and volunteer. There isn’t a nonprofit out there that isn’t looking for help.”

Volunteering is an excellent resume builder while unemployed, and will certainly show the dedication to a cause that you have. However, there is a right and a not as right, way of going about volunteering. There is no shortage of non-profits, organizations, or locations that need help and volunteers. Not every place is suited for every person though. It is best to look for a place to volunteer that will have the most relevance to the career that you are seeking to get into. With the right place selected, you will be able to demonstrate your skills and even learn some new ones that will advance you further and build your resume for when you apply for future jobs. This is to say that if you are an IT specialist with little knowledge of gardening or building houses, you probably shouldn’t go to Habitat for Humanity unless you are very interested in learning what it takes to be a successful volunteer for that organization. Instead a place you should look for is possibly a smaller non-profit that is having trouble with getting their technology up to speed or being effective in reaching their constituency via the internet. FuzeUs has built in a function to allow those that are particularly skilled at a certain subject to enter that, and find places to volunteer based on the talents that they bring to the table, and who can best use those talents.

Companies, when hiring, also look for those that have taken initiative on their own to start a project that helps out their community, or solves a certain social issue. Unfortunately, this is not a well known piece of the puzzle and what is happening to many of the larger and better known non-profits throughout America, is that they are receiving too many volunteers to be effective with the funding and resources that they have. FuzeUs.com, currently in its beta production, solves both of these problems. The first problem is solved through being able to connect with your friends and figure out the resources and venue of the volunteering that you would like to enact. We encourage others to start their own ideas and projects and invite their friends and all those that are interested in a similar idea to go out and work on the problem, without the help or resources from a non-profit. As most national level non-profits are well known they, don’t always have the time or resources to help out specific or proprietary initiatives. Although, if you are looking for a non-profit to go through that has resources but may not be as full with volunteers as the larger ones, there are many local non-profits and organizations that do not have enough volunteers. Also in our system is a way to not only show those small non-profits and their location, but the ability to show who needs to most help, and who already has enough. Alleviating the wasteful resources of too many volunteers with not enough funding or places to be useful

If those that are unemployed seek further, to start initiatives on their own, as well as volunteer more frequently in an effective manner they will start to see greater success in receiving interviews or becoming hired. In an answer, yes volunteering can get you a better and faster job. This also has other effects that are beneficial to our society. With an increase in time given and subsequent producing coming from the millions of volunteers, our economy will start to strengthen and more jobs will be created. This furthers the ability of those who volunteer, and who are unemployed to find jobs that are better suited for them, and they can become employed faster.

For further reading see

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/03/unemployed-volunteering_n_703625.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/16/nyregion/16volunteers.html?pagewanted=2&_r=2&hp

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/volun.nr0.htm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s