Having spent more hours volunteering than at work last week, I think I have probably done my bit, but it’s still a great time to talk about the benefits of volunteering—not for the organizations for which you volunteer, but for you.

  • Stay Energized—A long job search can really take its toll on your energy and enthusiasm. Spending some of that unwanted free time doing something you feel passionately about can make a huge difference in your motivation about the rest of your time.
  • Keep Skills Up-to-Date—Many organizations have need of highly skilled help and you can give and receive at the same time. Stay current with software updates and new platforms and make sure you refresh your resume with those skills.
  • Network—The people you meet when doing pro bono work can be important additions to your list of connections. Meet a CEO at a fundraising event, work with another volunteer who is employed at one of your target companies, share a laugh with someone who knows someone who is looking for a web or graphic designer and you never know what it may lead to.
  • Get a JobVolunteer opportunities can and do develop into job offers. Become the “known candidate” and when an opening becomes available, you will be the first in the door.

I am a graduate of a career development program which matches skilled job seekers with meaningful volunteer opportunities and I promise you all of the above are absolutely true benefits of volunteering when you are on a job search. And when you’re not, volunteering for an organization that calls to you is the most fun you will ever have working for free. I highly recommend it.

Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative