From volunteering to a job

From volunteering to a job

Here’s a picture of me holding some “Pinwheels for Prevention” that we at Guardian Ad Litem plant in pinwheel gardens every April for Child Abuse Prevention (and Child Advocate) Month.

When I found myself in a new city with no job last summer, I quickly realized that sitting around submitting resumes all day was not going to be enough to get me a job or keep me sane.

At the suggestion of a recruitment manager, I checked out Activate Good’s website. When I found an opening on Activate Good’s Marketing and PR Team, I thought it sounded like a perfect opportunity. When I first signed on, I mostly did it to have something productive and fun to do other than job search. Little did I know that it would play a crucial role in landing me a job!

Speaking from my own experience, here’s the top five ways volunteering helped me land a job, and continues to be a great way to hone my skills.

  • Helps keep up skills and teaches you new ones

Before checking out Activate Good’s website, I’d never even thought about skills-based volunteering. And I thought to myself, “What could be better than volunteering and building my resume?” Volunteering on Activate Good’s PR and Marketing team helped me to apply what I already knew about marketing, as well as learn plenty of new things, too – such as how to apply my knowledge of marketing to volunteer recruitment and community building.

  • Closes the gap on your resume

I ended up spending six months without a job. While that isn’t atrocious in today’s economy, volunteering with Activate Good gave me something to add to the in-between so that I didn’t have a six months of nothing to show for all of my time spent job searching.

  • Gives you references

Activate Good’s marketing chair turned out to be one of my best references when I had finally found the right job. They were able to talk about what I was currently doing, rather than what I had done in the past, and that really seemed to make all the difference to the people recruiting me.

  • Allows you to network

Volunteering will inevitably get you connected, and everyone knows that your network makes all the difference in getting a job. You might even make a few friends, too!

  • Keeps you sane!

This one is more important than you might think. Despite how productive spending every hour of every waking day submitting applications might make you feel, it’s much more likely to get you feeling depressed and worried when your phone isn’t ringing or your inbox isn’t filling up with emails about interviews. Getting out and volunteering (and even having a little fun doing it!) will keep you much more energized for job-searching. It gives you something to look forward to, and something to feel good about. It may be the one thing that gets you through the hard time of unemployment!

Eventually, I took a job with the North Carolina courts system as a volunteer recruiter and communications specialist for the Guardian ad Litem program. Volunteering with Activate Good helped me connect the dots between my expertise in marketing and my love for helping others (especially kids). I never thought volunteering would become so important to me – and now I can honestly say that it was an integral part of how I found a job!