One of the best parts of Martin Luther King Day is that, after the frenzy of the holiday season, it helps put our focus back on serving others. Volunteering your time and talents has obvious benefits to the people you serve—but if you're unemployed, it provides some pretty major benefits for you, too. And there's no resume required. Because, as Dr. King said:
"Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve.... You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."
Heck, you don't even need that! Even if your motives are purely selfish, volunteering is a great way to pump new life back into a stagnant job search.
Here are 10 reasons every job seeker should volunteer:
- It gives you a place to go.
- It keeps your skills fresh and teaches you new ones.
- It takes your mind off your own troubles.
- It shows you there are worse things than being unemployed.
- It gets you out of your own head and reminds you of the things you're good at.
- It makes you feel valued and appreciated.
- It introduces you to new people, who can become friends and part of your network.
- It gives you recent experience to put on your resume.
- It gives you something impressive to talk about at job interviews.
- It kills time a lot better than playing solitaire.
Isn't it ironic that, when we're employed, there's never enough time for friends, family, and social life? But when we're unemployed and have the time, we often avoid those things because of embarrassment or lethargy. We end up with no work and no life.
Volunteering is the perfect way to rebuild your confidence, do something good for the world, and help yourself feel like you once again have something of value to offer friends, family, and employers. Besides:
"You may not have saved a lot of money in your life, but if you have saved a lot of heartaches for other folks, you are a pretty rich man." — Seth Parker
Ready to volunteer, but not sure where to begin? Contact local schools, nursing homes, hospitals, or veterans' services, or do an online search for "volunteer opportunities." Web sites like Volunteer Match and United We Serve can match you up with volunteer needs in your community.
If you've done any volunteering during your job search, how did it work out? We'd love to hear about it. Post a comment below!
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