The Volunteer Connection
Often volunteerism and employment, including job search, tend to fall into two separate categories in most people’s minds, and for many there isn’t time to engage in both simultaneously. However, for job seekers, and also those who are underemployed or precariously employed, volunteering can lead to actual employment. Indeed, volunteering can even lead to a dream job.
When we consider working for free, or volunteering, we tend to make placement choices based on interests, passions and a sense of ethical responsibility. There are so many great options, including working with vulnerable populations, animals, or environmental protection. Volunteering, for most people, is about giving back and/or community engagement in a way that really resonates with who we are and what drives us. What many don’t realize is that volunteering is also a powerful assessment tool, particularly if we are considering actual employment in a specific area, and especially if we are planning to invest time and money via education in order to work in said area. For example, having a love for animals generally motivates people to train in the field. However, there are likely aspects of a job working with animals that animal lovers may find difficult or even impossible, such as euthanasia.
Investing a few hours of volunteer time to ensure a particular career choice is a solid fit is well worth it, especially as the cost of post-secondary training is expensive. The cost of being in an unsustainable job, with stress and subsequent job loss is immeasurably high. By volunteering you get the information you need to assess whether or not a career in that field is a good fit, and you also get to give back in a way that is tangible and significant. It’s a win/win!
All altruism aside, perhaps one of the most beneficial aspects of volunteering is that it often leads to actual employment, and/or contributes to hands-on experience in your employment target. Many volunteer positions offer free training and all of this makes your resume significantly stronger and more effective. Volunteering also provides an excellent venue for marketing your skills/abilities, as well as networking to other potential employers. It’s a “boots on the ground” approach to your job search that cannot be understated! For more information about the benefits of volunteering, as well as resources for finding awesome volunteer opportunities, check out: https://www.workbc.ca/WorkBC-Blog/Read-WorkBC-s-Blog/Three-Benefits-of-Volunteering.aspx.
For local opportunities to volunteer check out Oceanside Volunteer Association.