8 Reasons to Volunteer During Unemployment

There are a lot of good reasons to volunteer during unemployment. The reasons cover personal benefits, work experience and training. Volunteer work usually gets a pretty apathetic response from unemployed people, who see it as an added burden. That's a major misrepresentation of the nature of the work, and the opportunities it can create.

Types of Work

Volunteer work is usually community work. This is essential social work. Charities and nonprofit organizations take on most of the relief work in the world, and nearly all of the front line work. The work includes:

  • Community programs
  • Charity kitchens
  • Administration
  • Stores work
  • Shop duties
  • Assisting at shelters
  • Parks and gardens
  • Basic sanitation work
  • Community education

As you can see, these aren't exactly trivial jobs. This is all valuable work. It's not commonly known, but to work in many of these organizations, experience in the jobs is a primary requirement. This isn't the standard career path for most people, but it can lead to excellent jobs for those motivated in these areas.

Reasons for volunteering

1. Work experience and training: All these jobs translate into job options and career potentials. They're useful as basic training in all related areas of employment.

2. Work discipline: People get out of the work habit when unemployed for long periods. A job restores the organizational factors to life.

3. Filling gaps on the resume: A lot of unemployed people sabotage themselves with avoidable gaps in their resumes. This is a real practical problem, and the resume looks much better with recent work on it.

4. Upgrading and learning skills: Some volunteer jobs include comprehensive training in portable skills. For some people, getting volunteer work in their old areas of employment effectively involves free retraining. Gaining current experience also helps in getting jobs where the lack of it is a factor in job selection.

5. Avoiding the "unemployment syndrome": The static, stagnant state of unemployment isn't good for people. The lack of meaningful occupation is considered by employment industry professionals to be a health risk. Volunteer work breaks the cycle, and creates new perspectives, as well as new options.

6. Making a shift in priorities: When unemployed, the priorities are often too limiting. The cycle of looking for work and doing job applications becomes an ordeal, almost a brick wall of possibilities, with no options. Volunteer work can take you out of the treadmill and give quite different sets of priorities. The change to a job and its set of priorities is a positive catalyst, restarting the thinking processes outside the limitations of unemployment-based logic and creating reevaluation scenarios.

7. The social environment: Instead of the ever-shrinking circle of contacts during unemployment, the job creates the exact opposite effect. Many volunteer jobs can bring people in similar situations together, and form good relationships.

8. A built in advisory and support service: One element almost ignored in volunteer work is that you're working with professionals in the field. These volunteer employers really know the whole story about unemployment. They can advise and help you look for jobs. They can outline job options. They can also help get jobs.