An email came across the other day with a subject line that read “Can Volunteering Help You with Your Job Search?” I knew that we all learn new skills through volunteering and certainly the connections we make can help lead us to future employment. But what I took as common knowledge hadn’t ever been proven, until now.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) recently released “Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment,” a research study that found that those who were out of work and got involved with volunteering opportunities increased their likelihood of finding employment by 27 percent. Furthermore, the study found that volunteers without a high school diploma improved their chances of finding employment by 51 percent, and those in rural areas increased their chances of finding work by 55 percent.
Volunteering improves the likelihood of success for job seekers across all demographic categories – such as age, race, and gender – geographic areas, and job market conditions. In a competitive job market, volunteering can help job seekers be the one employers notice. For those people with limited skills or connections, volunteering can help level the playing field.
Wondering where to start? Join United Way in our commitment to service and our mission to advance the common good. Enter your zip code on United Way’s website to find a volunteer opportunity near you. Pledge to reverse the high school dropout rate (and chronic under- or unemployment rates among dropouts) by becoming a volunteer reader, tutor or mentor. Tell us how volunteering helped you find a job, improved your life or improved someone else’s life. Whether you are employed, looking for work or just want to make a difference, find a way to volunteer. When you serve others, you’ll reap the benefits, along with the rest of us. LIVE UNITED.