Volunteering opportunities in an off year

For most students, moving from high school to college and then right into the job market is stressful. Many young people decide to take a year off between steps along this path. What do they do with this time? Some of them spend this gap year in volunteering jobs. What are the advantages of taking a volunteering job during a gap year?

  • Gaining experience in the job market at your own pace
  • Gaining references and contacts
  • It allows you to look at different options and opportunities

When to Take a Gap Year

One of the questions you might ask yourself is when to take a gap year to work volunteering jobs. There are four basic points in a young person's life where it would be the most useful.

  • After you graduate from school and before going into the workforce or college
  • After gaining qualifications from working
  • After college
  • Taking a year off during college

Taking a gap year to work volunteer jobs at one of these points will provide the greatest advantage to your career.

How to Find a Gap Year Volunteer Job

Finding a volunteering job during a gap year may be difficult but not impossible. Some research and inquiries can lead to a paid position. Here are some ways which can help:

  • Check with temporary agencies in your community - these places may have short term positions available if you tell them what you are looking for
  • Check with the local colleges - many schools have positions with stipends or living expenses available.
  • Ask around at the local nonprofit offices - if you are in the right place at the right time, you might land a position that wasn't widely known about.

Finding a volunteering job will be easier if you have already had volunteering experience and skills available.

Job Possibilities

If you are considering using a gap year by working volunteering jobs you may be wondering what type of jobs you can find. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Retail clerk at a charity store
  • Working in a food pantry or soup kitchen
  • Working in a social service agency
  • Leading a group of volunteers
  • Answering phones or running errands
  • Canvassing or survey taking
  • Working at a donation center
  • Working in a care center for children, adults, or special needs individuals

Volunteer Vacations

Another way to gain experience in volunteering jobs while not taking a gap year is to use your Winter, Summer, and Spring breaks to find positions with nonprofit organizations. Some of the potential advantages to volunteer vacations are:

  • Building references
  • Building a contact network
  • Gaining experience to put on your CV
  • Exploring different careers and job options
  • Potential for new adventure and new friendships

While moving straight from school into college, then into the workforce may seem like the path to take, it is not necessary to do it all at one time. Taking a gap year working volunteering jobs allows a brief break from the fast track as well as potential options and possibilities.