Dear DFS: Should I Volunteer While Searching for a Job?

Dear DFS:

I was let go from my job about a month ago, and haven’t been able to find many opportunities for work since. It seems like everyone is looking for work this time year. So, in the spirit of the holidays, I’ve decided to volunteer in between job searching. I’ve heard volunteering can be a great way to fill gaps in your resume, so I’m hoping to find something where I can give back to my community and walk away with a valuable experience. I just don’t know where to look. Do you have any ideas?

Hopeful for the holidays!

Amy, Seattle


Dear Amy,

Kudos on keeping your spirits high during your search for a new career! Volunteering is an amazing way to give back to your community, learn new skills, and help maintain a positive outlook as you embark on a new journey. Volunteering demonstrates to potential employers that you are passionate about something and that you care for your community, in addition to showing them you are a person of character and integrity. This would be someone I would want to hire!

When deciding on possible volunteer opportunities, you will want to consider a couple of factors: your schedule availability, personal interests and your values. Finding a volunteer position that fulfills these will help make volunteering a more valuable experience for both yourself and the organization you want to impact. For example, if you had a passion for shopping and wanted to promote the economic independence of low-income women, then volunteering for a local Dress for Success affiliate would be a perfect fit.

There are many different avenues to seek out volunteer opportunities including: MeetUp, SignUpGenius, VolunteerMatch, and NationalService. Internet searches can be very overwhelming, however, many of these sites will help identify an area that interests you or you feel most passionate about. You can also check your local community council for opportunities.

Volunteering should always be fun and rewarding, which is how you should feel about your career. You may want to consider seeking a volunteer position that is closely aligned to the type of employment you wish to secure. For example, if you hope to secure employment as an accountant, you could search for non-profit organizations that are in need of assistance with book-keeping.

Throughout our life, we are all faced with challenging times and it is how we respond to these challenges that reflect who we are as a person. Not allowing the transition between jobs to dampen your spirit speaks wonders of your character and this will shine through as you make strides in your volunteer search and as your career path takes shape.

Good Luck and Blessings,

Kathy Lambert


Dress for Success Midwest & Dress for Success Kansas City

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