You might be one those people who find it really difficult to find a job, never get a call from the employer and just basically laze around all day watching TV (and other things). But, if you really want to boost your chances of getting a job, then you might consider this very overlooked and underrated job search strategy … volunteering.
Although you don’t get paid to do this kind of work, it’s a good way to keep your skills up to date, expand your network and your horizons. Volunteering, especially during a long stretch of unemployment, can also help fill in this gap and gives you a non-lame excuse to the interviewer as to what you’ve been doing all this time.
Most people think of volunteering as going out and promoting some cause like trying to get people on the streets to sign up to your cause and what not. However, volunteering is a lot deeper than that. Volunteering could also involve designing a website, organizing an event, editing publicity materials, bookkeeping and so on. These skills will be an invaluable addition to your key skills list in your resume or CV (if you even have one).
And it’s not just about the skills that you could potentially gain during volunteer work. By working for a non-profit organization, you’ll be able to network with other people who will know from their experience what a great, reliable, competent and hard-working person you are (hopefully). These people can then become extremely good references, which is what most novices to the workplace often leave as “References available upon request”.
The fact they’re well connected, well at least better than before, is that the employer will see you as a stronger candidate than other potential candidates. Even though someone else may technically be more qualified than you, you still have all these extra skills that the other person might have completely overlooked and thought that volunteering was a waste of time. And this extra trust factor will definitely work in your favor.
Volunteering isn’t just about increasing your odds of getting the interview, but it also increases your odds of getting the actual job. Most volunteer jobs are very ‘out-there’ and needs you to be quite involved in what you’re expected to do. This will help boost your self-confidence and will also give you a sense of accomplishment.
So why not give volunteering a try? It helps you retain your skills, increases your self-confidence and employers will see that you’re community-oriented, dependable and highly motivated.