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Give Before You Get!

image Two of the most difficult things for most people in their job search:
Maintain a PMA (Positive Mental Attitude), and Networking.

One tool to help with both of those issues: Volunteering!

Particularly in today’s economy, there is a tremendous need for volunteers in all kinds of excellent service organizations.  With a little digging, you can find opportunities to do virtually anything that interests you, that can serve others in a tremendous way.  You should find ways to serve for the benefit of the recipients, but the benefits to you in your job search can be huge as well!

When you’re serving others:

  • It’s difficult to feel sorry for yourself. You often witness even greater difficulties than your own, and it helps you put your own problems in perspective.

  • It gives you a sense of worth to be able to help.  Often, in a job search, people become unsure of their own value.  Serving others is a good reminder that you can do good.

  • You gain a sense of accomplishment.  Helping someone else is an achievement.

  • You stay engaged with people rather than ‘holed up’ at home.  That helps your attitude and your communication skills which can atrophy without constant use.

  • You often receive expressions of gratitude, which are great morale boosters.

  • You often are getting to know new people and building relationships which expand your network and can lead you to more prospects.

  • You gain more confidence in meeting and relating to people you don’t know – a great way to develop your networking skills.

  • You become needed. That is a great feeling when you’re unemployed.

  • You never know who you will meet!  You may find connections and opportunities you never expected.

  • It’s the right thing to do, and everyone feels better when they’re doing something good.

One job seeker I coached not long ago applied this wholeheartedly.  She certainly did all the normal things she needed to do to find a job, but she also sought out and helped in a wide variety of volunteer opportunities at her church, at company events, and at various service organizations.

She heard of one large company in town doing an employee food drive.  She contacted the company to say she was interested in helping in some way and whether there might be an opportunity to get involved.  They were glad for the help, and gave her a chance to help load the truck with all the donated foods.  While working throughout the day, she got a chance to meet and work with a number of the company’s employees, who would ask who she was and what she did.  One of the people she worked with was a Director of a functional area that was in her work experience.  After some discussion while handing off boxes of food, she was asked to come in for an interview for a potential opening.  Doing good, networking, feeling good, and an interview!  Not bad!

Organizations like The Salvation Army, The Red Cross, Habitat For Humanity, United Way, churches and many, many others are always looking for volunteer help.  Either for a one time commitment or event, or for on-going needs they may have.   They give you the benefit of helping others, but they are also a tremendous opportunity to feel good about yourself, and work alongside others that may be leads!  Everyone you meet or work along side may be either a valuable direct contact, or may know of someone else that can help.

No one should feel like they can’t serve.  There is a need out there for you regardless of your own circumstances.  This weekend I witnessed someone that gave several bags of groceries to someone else in need.  The giver was in need themselves, and really didn’t have ‘surplus’ cash to help in that way.  However, they felt called to be a blessing to someone that had even less.

You will never be a failure when you’re serving someone else!  Get out and volunteer!


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Rosa Vargas said...

Great post! So true. Often, when you engage in things outside of your own problems -- things have a way of working out for you.

Cris Janzen, SPHR said...

Awesome post, thank you for articulating all the good that can come for job seekers through volunteering!
Thank you in advance - I'm adding a link to your post on my blog.
Cris Janzen

Phyllis Mufson said...

Great post Harry. I'd also like to add that you may get a job offer out of volunteering. Several of my clients have gotten hired by organizations where they volunteered.

Non-profit organizations are a growing sector of the economy - an area where many people don't think to look.

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