Volunteering to get a job

No, sorry, I don’t have a paying job, yet. I am doing work though, as a volunteer, and that means I have my foot in a couple of doors.

How so? Well, it harks back to that old saying – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

When you send out a CV, or a written application, you are showcasing what you know. You, as a person, however, remain a blank slate. From an employer’s persepctive, you could be a hard worker, pleasant to get on with, funny, kind, generous, a real asset to the organization. Or you could be an absolute ratbag who just knows how to play the application game.

A job interview can help cross this personal barrier, but only a little because at interviews you have to be on your best behaviour. And let’s face it, how much of yourself can you truly express in half an hour? Sometimes even getting that interview is an uphill struggle. Trust me, I know. I’ve been trying for three months!

So this is where volunteering can help. You get to meet and interact with people in the industry you would like to join. They get to know you, and you get to know them… and all without obligation. If you don’t like the place, or the people, or the work, you can walk away, offer your services somewhere else.

Of course, the flip side is that the potential employer can also decide they don’t like you. That is why volunteering is a gamble of sorts. Nonetheless, I’m convinced it’s the very best way of finding the work, and the work environment that is going to make you happy.

Sure, money is important! Every time I get another bill in the mail, I’m reminded of just how important money truly is. But! I’ve worked at enough jobs I hated to know that enjoying your time at work is vital. So for me, volunteering is the perfect way to ease back into paid employment.

There is also another benefit to volunteering – confidence.

You see, no matter how much faith you may have in yourself, the longer you go without some kind of positive feedback, the harder it is to maintain that confidence. Self doubt creeps in. Pretty soon you begin to actively fear being put to the test. Then avoidance creeps in…

The emotions I’ve described are all my own, but I believe they can apply to anyone who has been out of the workforce for an extended period of time. They can also apply to most other endeavours in life. -mumble- writing -mumble-

Moving on. Over the last two weeks I’ve had volunteer gigs at Park Orchards and Greensborough, and next week I may get to help out at Panton Hill. I’ve also joined a tutoring agency. I’m not too sure about that last one, but I have thoroughly enjoyed my volunteer gigs, and they have boosted my confidence tremendously – I know I can teach, and teach well.

I’ve also enjoy the people. They are what makes or breaks a job in the long term.

I’ve often referred to myself as a bit of a hermit, and that is still true – I enjoy my own company and the freedom to pursue my own projects at my own pace. But as with everything else in life, balance is vital, and over the last two weeks I’ve realised that I need to interact with real life people as well as you lot. 😀 Why? Because I do like people, especially the nice ones, and I’ve been lucky enough to meet nothing but nice ones through my volunteering!

So me lovelies, the moral of this post is that reaching out to people is always a good thing. If, like me, you are looking for a job and not having much success with those CVs, reach out and volunteer. You may not get a paying job out of it, but the non-tangible benefits are very real, and well worth the effort!

cheers from a very happy Meeks 😀




About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

25 responses to “Volunteering to get a job

  • EllaDee

    I love that the steps of your plan are coming together. First Cert IV, now volunteering… the next step is inevitable 🙂
    Even though I’m in a paid job, we have opportunities to volunteer via our Communuty Service Program, and when I do I often find myself saying ‘I love this… much better than being in the office’ 🙂


  • Matthew Ashworth

    What we need is a jobs plan that puts American workers first. That is why I am running against Boehner in the primary. I believe that federal contracts should go to American firms only and that we should impose financial disincentives on American firms that outsource American jobs overseas. Check out my jobs plan. #Jobs #AmericaFirst #AshworthForCongress


  • dvberkom

    Great post, AC! Temp agencies and volunteering are fantastic ways to find a job. Good luck to you — I can’t imagine you’d have a hard time once they got to know you 😀


  • Ilil Arbel

    This is the best way to find a job. I know several people who had done exactly that. The best example is a woman who got a volunteer job at a very well-known museum in New York City. After about a year (which she enjoyed very much) she was offered a permanent job. She held the job for almost twenty years. Recently the museum was going through the usual downsizing, and several people, including my friend, were offered early retirement with full pension (almost unheard of these days).


  • Honie Briggs

    Excellent advice. Volunteering is a great resume builder. It shows a person is made of the right stuff. Best wishes on the job hunt.


  • anne54

    It sounds like you are in that sweet spot, Meeks. Now all you need is that pay cheque, but I think it will come soon too. 🙂


  • davidprosser

    You’re so, so right. And this new found confidence should transfer back to the other things in life like, mumble. writing, mumble. So maybe we’ll see an end to a certain story fairly soon?
    Employers are going to like what they see, nay, DO like what they see after your recent gigs, since one has asked about further availability. You will be of great benefit to an employer and your nature is such that any trainees will enjoy their time in your care.It’s the job market itself that has kept you on the sidelines for three months, not your abilities so as soon as the right permanent job comes up I’m sure it will be yours.
    As always I wish you luck in finding what you want.
    xxx Hugs Galore xxx


  • geooorge

    “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
    Oh you are so right here. I will be participating in an exhibition, and i mentioned that to a friend. And she just jumped up asking for a press release so that she’ll promote it further. And she has the way of actually promoting the thing…


  • pinkagendist

    HA- If people got to meet me that would ensure I never got ANY job. I only work because I do it privately and no one has to endure my company 🙂


  • Carrie Rubin

    It’s wonderful that you volunteer. There are so many organizations that need people. And you’re right–what a wonderful way to get your foot in the door for a possible paying position. A paycheck is always a perk. 🙂


  • Yvonne Hertzberger

    Many people find jobs this way, Meeks. They’ll love you. Good luck.


    • acflory

      Thanks Yvonne. Way back in the day I used to work for a temp. agency, and was offered almost all my permanent positions that way. But…that was back in the Jurassic, and I forgot. 🙂


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