Unemployment often breeds hopelessness. It is so easy to get demotivated when “No” seems to be the only word people know when responding to your cv. You start doubting your abilities and your self-confidence takes a knock.
What can you do while you are unemployed that will assist you in your job searching but also keep you sane?
The recruitment agencies concur that volunteering is one of the ways that you can apply yourself and your skills while you wait for the “Yes” answer to come.
Australia is a nation of volunteers. The 2010 statistics show the following:
6.1 Million people volunteered with women being slightly in the majority. The regional folk did more volunteering than their city counterparts. People between 45-54 years volunteered more than youngsters did. Couples with children between 5-17 years old had the highest rate of volunteer work.
The economic value of volunteering is staggering. Just South Australia’s contribution based on 2006 data is valued at more than $4.89 billion annually! That is with a median weekly number of hours estimated at 1.1 hours.
I must admit that I found it particularly interesting to see that it was the employed people who had a higher rate of volunteering. If anything, should unemployed/people in between jobs not be volunteering more? Especially if you take into account that they will be making a difference in the community and it will give them a sense of purpose? With volunteering the adage of it is better to give than receive, rings truer than ever.
Macquarie University in Sydney lists the benefits of volunteering on their webpage. It includes
– Connecting you with others (networking possibilities)
– Make new friends and contacts (networking possibilities)
– Enhancing your social and relationship skills (A while ago someone asked how you get an introvert to network – get him to volunteer. Once surrounded by likeminded people his confidence will grow and bolder steps may follow.)
– Team building and bonding (When I volunteered at the Pink Hope fundraiser in Kalgoorlie I shared in an incredible experience when I realized how people in this country rally around those who need their help. It restored my dwindling faith in the kindness of others.)
– It is good for your mind and your body. It can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem and life satisfaction. You are doing something good for others and you are not expecting anything in return because they often cannot give anything back. You will however walk away with a sense of pride and identity and the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have appositive view of your life and future goals.
Volunteering actually combats depression and it helps you to stay active.
– It is good for your career. It can help you get experience in your area of interest and you will meet people in the field.
– It provides career experiences and it may give you the opportunity to learn valuable job skills. Yes, volunteer work is unpaid but the skills are not necessarily basic. Some volunteer opportunities provide training. If you already have vast skills – offer them up. You have them – might as well use them.
– Volunteering gives you the opportunity to have fun and to get out of the isolation that you may find yourself in while you are job hunting. Volunteering also provides you with renewed creativity, motivation, and vision that can carry over into your personal and professional life.
Go and have a look at www.volunteeringaustralia.org for ideas on how to get involved. Reach out and you may just find that it is not only about you giving but actually getting a lot more in return.