Out of work does not mean that “out of opportunities to shine.” At Robin’s Resumes®, I’ve always encouraged job hunters to consider volunteer work for very practical reasons—which have just been confirmed by a national study.
This June, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) reported on the results of their survey of more than 70,000 individuals over age 16 to determine if volunteering would help them find a new job. Overall, the survey found that volunteers have a 27% higher likelihood than non-volunteers of finding a job after being out of work. For people who are already volunteering when they lose their jobs, their chances of finding a new job increase a whopping 30%. For those who first start volunteering after they lose their jobs, their chances increase 21%.
The advantages of volunteering are especially pronounced for those without a high school diploma (they have a 51% higher likelihood than non-volunteers of finding employment) and for those in rural areas (a 55% higher likelihood). Another interesting statistic: the increased likelihood of finding a job for volunteers holds up regardless of the overall level of unemployment in the country—that is, regardless of whether unemployment is at a low or a high.
Volunteering is not only an opportunity to keep your current skills sharp but to add skills to your resume, whether in the areas of leadership, fund raising, donor and community relationship management, or even technical areas like web design. The contacts made through volunteering may enable you to apply for job openings that have not been advertised yet and open up career paths you may not have considered.