Volunteering benefits job seekers

Are you looking for employment? Volunteering provides opportunities that can open doors and increase chances for success.

How can you increase your chances of securing employment? Volunteering! A recent report from the Corporation for National and Community Service reported that volunteerism has a significant positive correlation with employment. Volunteering offers a variety of benefits that may make a candidate more successful in their job search and interviews. This research validates what many volunteers and organizations have experienced and observed.

Volunteers experience a 27 percent advantage when it comes to gaining employment and this increases to 51percent for people who did not graduate from high school and to 55 percent for those living in rural areas. Why is this? For one thing, volunteer positions provide an opportunity to build skills and gain experiences that employers value. According to Michigan State University Extension, this can be helpful on a resume and in the interview. Interviewers frequently ask to demonstrate understanding of different job tasks, for example. Volunteering provides an additional set of examples that can be use when responding to questions.

In addition to enhancing skills, volunteers create a larger social network. Social networks play a vital role in helping people learn about job opportunities. As a volunteer, you meet other volunteers, program staff and other stakeholders. Let them know that you are looking for a job and what you would like to do. They are likely to refer you to openings they are aware of and possibly put in a good word.

Finally, volunteering and serving the community is something that many people value and admire. This includes employers. Serving the community tells others that you are passionate and committed. Depending on the position, it may tell others you are a team player or that you possess leadership skills.

If you are looking for a volunteer position, try to find a position that allows you to build skills that you need or demonstrate talents you already possess. You can find opportunities near you at your local MSU Extension office,  Volunteer Match or Idealist.

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