Trying to find a job is a job in itself… and a pretty thankless one at that.
Our brain loves achieving things so sending out streams of applications with few (if any) responses can be extremely demotivating.
During the job hunt, it’s vital to be devoting time to other fulfilling activities to keep a healthy balance.
And yes, we get it, it is tempting to try to steamroller this process by throwing time at it, but allocating your time to other activities can make the time you spend on the job search slog far more productive and rewarding.
One activity we recommend time and time again is volunteering.
If that strikes you as a big waste of time when you need to be pouring all your energies into the job hunt, just read on…
Volunteering is an opportunity to test out different careers
It’s a long old life and there’s no use spending it on something you don’t enjoy. But what should be an easy question (what do I enjoy doing?) is one of the hardest to get to the root of.
Almost 10% of University students drop out before completing their studies – most of the time this is because they picked their route with a blind guess of “I think I’d enjoy this”. Starting a career is no different; the decision should be based on research and self-knowledge.
Think you’d enjoy being a vet? Why not prepare for the four years of study by trialling work in a veterinary practice?
Volunteering is a great way to figure this out. We only know what we know, and the only way to know is to try things.
Understanding the environment you’re happiest in.
This is one of the more important questions our coaches ask to help you figure out where you want to be spending your time.
Do you enjoy working behind a desk, or out in the field? Are you energised by people, or would you rather get your work done in private? Do you excel in fast-paced, spontaneous environments, or would you rather be methodical and have a plan in place to work through?
Volunteering is a great way to experiment with different work environments and to test out exactly where you’re happiest.
It helps you stay ahead of other candidates with skill learning
Volunteering forces us to pick up skills we may otherwise not have the opportunity to develop. Here are a few that will make you stand out in the job market
- Team management
- Social media skills
- Project management
- Relationship building
- Public speaking
- Financial literacy
It helps you get to know yourself
Time spent on self-discovery is undervalued in our society; it is what the coaching process is all about.
How are you expected to choose the best way to spend your life if you haven’t got to know yourself properly?
New and challenging experiences are one key to a happy and successful life. The more you have, the better you know yourself and what it takes to keep happy and satisfied.
Perhaps door-to-door fundraising for a local charity made you realise you’re awesome at making people feel at ease and persuading people to support you. Perhaps that rewilding project you worked with helped you conclude that a workspace with a roof is more your style.
If we don’t try these things, we can only guess (and most likely, get it wrong).
It’ll give you high-quality references
In the early stages of a career journey, professional references can be quite tricky to come by, and they’re not something to overlook.
Spotted that dream job? A quality reference can make the difference between whether you get it or not.
Volunteering references can be some of the strongest and most persuasive to a potential employer. They’re a great way to showcase the skillset that is hard to get across on paper and speak volumes about your character and values. 92% of employers said that relevant volunteering references give candidates an advantage in interviews.
Simply put…volunteering is good for you!
Exercise for your body, see your friends for your mind, and volunteer for your soul.
Whilst job searching consistently ranks lowest on the list of enjoyable activities, volunteering makes one happier and more fulfilled.
The time spent wading through applications may be inescapable, but it becomes much more rewarding when the rest of the time is devoted to energising activities.
Volunteering for the win!
When searching for a job, time is your most valuable resource. Wearing yourself out by pouring all your time down the job search drain is not the best way to go about it.
Devoting some of your time to finding a volunteering activity and making space for it in your week may well be the most effective way to get ahead. Not only will it make you a more interesting candidate, but you will be happier as a result. Goodbye job search boredom!
We can help you find a volunteering role that works for you, why not get in touch?