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Laid-Off Workers Gain Skills and Improve Resumes by Volunteering

Do-Gooders: Job Hunters Give Time and Gain Skills

Ever dream of living the philanthropic life — projects that matter, tax write-offs, fundraisers and galas (j/k! nobody's giving)? Now is your time. Just like Barack Obama promised!

Tired job hunters, who've found that looking for work really isn't a full-time job, are filling their time and résumés in the nonprofit, nonpaying sector. Volunteer work! Add that to the list of good things about the recession.

Because what is money, really, but "something generally accepted as a medium of exchange, a measure of value, or a means of payment"? The psychological impact of unemployment can be as bad, if not worse, than the financial impact. So it's no surprise the unemployed and weary are seeking solace by giving time. And the beneficiaries? They're thrilled to have hands and talent that they could not afford otherwise.

Volunteering may even pay off. Most nonprofit workers start off the clock, so proactive volunteers should expect to be snatched up when organizations have money to hire. I hear the government's giving it out?


Join The Conversation
Jillness Jillness 8 years
I have always volunteered, because I think it is good to help those less fortunate than yourself. It seems most of us all agree on this. Where this article is different, and I think it is beneficial for people to understand, is that projects you work on for non-profits are still projects that can help your career when people start hiring again. You can make your time work double duty for your resume. For example, helping with the Red Cross would be great! But if you work in PR, and you help them with some sort of PR campaign (getting more food donations, alerting your neighborhood about disaster preparedness, PR campaigns for more volunteers, etc.), then you not only have helped people, but you have also helped your future by putting something actually related to your career on your resume. I think people might not realize how many "real life" job skills are used by non-profits. One of my friends was deeply involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and it was so interesting to see how much she gained for her own separate career path from the projects she worked on with them.
stephley stephley 8 years
Thanks for that Carrie. :halo:
Carrie-Sue Carrie-Sue 8 years
Oh, no Steph, that's not where I was going with that. All I meant was that's my primary reason for volunteering - God tells us to look out for the less fortunate. :)
stephley stephley 8 years
Lots of people who aren't religious volunteer, they just see it as an opportunity to pitch in and help.
mydiadem mydiadem 8 years
Many expenses related to volunteering are tax deductible - for example if you work at an animal shelter and buy treats, or foster animals and pay for the food out of pocket, that is all considered charitable donations.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Carrie - I expect that is the difference between those who are religious and those who aren't. We see it as an opportunity to repay what we've been blessed with.
Carrie-Sue Carrie-Sue 8 years
I'm part of a church that's always jumped in when it comes to the community, regardless of economic highs and lows, so I guess things haven't changed much for me in that respect. But I can certainly understand people wanted to do some good with their time, especially under such circumstances.
geebers geebers 8 years
oops hit post too soon- but meant to also say that on top of having it look good on the resume it is also a great feeling of doing something with yourself and reminding you about what really matters.
geebers geebers 8 years
I agree with Ilanac. If I was jobless after a few weeks, I would fill up my time with volunteering. for one thing it looks a hell of a lot better on my resume rather than admit to doing thing.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well i think that part of the reason for this is because so many people have been without a job for so long that they are getting really depressed about being home and not doing anything, so they give their time in the hopes that it'll give them something to do until a job comes along. i don't think that it's such a bad idea.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I volunteer for several organizations. With no compensation other than good karma. Volunteering is a good thing. Enjoying the goofy Obama picture.
janneth janneth 8 years
So fundraising is on hold, but volunteerism is way up. Ying and yang.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
I volunteer at an animal shelter but no one at that organization gets paid so I dpn't think I'm gonna get any $ out of it
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