If you are unemployed or find yourself in the more subjective and nebulous “under-employed” category, you may worry that the skills you have spent years crafting and refining are going to weaken. An accountant needs to work with numbers to stay sharp and an attorney cannot go a year without drafting a brief and not worry that his ability to form a strong legal argument may have diminished. So, what can you do while you search for that full-time job that fulfills your professional and financial dreams? Consider volunteering.
On his Personal Branding blog, Dan Schwabel shared an article written by Donna Fuscaldo for the site Glassdoor.com. In the piece, Fuscaldo shares that the opportunities to give back to your community extend well past the traditional soup kitchens (although those certainly remain important). Businesses in a variety of fields are excited to welcome those who can contribute a developed skill or talent to their offices. And, potential employers will value not only the application of your knowledge in a way that furthers your job experience but also your desire to help in an environment in which your only compensation may be the honing of your work and the good feeling that comes from helping others.
So, even if you currently have a 9-to-5 job, ask yourself if it’s what you really want to be doing. If not, why not consider giving some of your time to an organization within the field that is your true passion? If you’ve always wanted to run a dinner theater, offer to do their books and learn the ins and outs of such an operation. If you dream of selling fine, imported chocolates, volunteer to create a website for an existing seller of pastries or candies who is looking to expand his customer base. You learn and you give back at the same time . . . two of my favorite pastimes!
Do you have an example of when volunteering led to a new career opportunity for you? How might a volunteer with professional experience be helpful in your office?