The career benefits of volunteering

How sharing your free time can help you on the job.

[caption id="attachment_6189" align="alignnone" width="610"]Volunteering By Daniel Thornton http://www.flickr.com/people/73440891@N05[/caption] You probably know volunteering is a great way to give back to your community and help those less fortunate, but you may not realize it can benefit your career as well. Volunteering can help you demonstrate and build skills that can help you land a new job or advance at your current company. It can also show you're a go-getter who takes initiative to keep busy and make yourself useful. This week's news roundup brings you articles that discuss research and expert insights on the career benefits of volunteering.
  • Volunteering gives an edge in job search. Albuquerque Journal: "There is a great connection of volunteering and finding employment. If you are looking for your first job, looking for your next job or changing careers, volunteering is also a great way to avoid gaps in your résumé. It shows a prospective employer that you are dedicated to your community and seek different opportunities even when you might not be working.The Corporation for National and Community Service has issued a report that found that volunteers have a 27 percent higher likelihood of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers. Also, volunteers without a high-school diploma have a 51 percent higher likelihood of finding employment, and volunteers living in rural areas have a 55 percent higher likelihood of finding employment."
  • BBB: 5 steps to take before donating time to a charity. The News-Sentinel:"Donating your time to a charity is just as meaningful and important as deciding to make a cash donation. However, you want to be sure that the charity you're considering is accountable and will use your time and talent wisely. If you've made giving back part of your New Year's resolutions, your Better Business Bureau recommends taking five steps to make sure your contribution makes an impact."
  • Don't go to college next year. Slate: "Over the next few weeks, students around the country will receive offers of admission to colleges and universities. But before students jump online and accept an offer, I have one piece of advice for them: They might be better off not going to college next year. Instead, they should think about taking a gap year, to defer college for a year to live and volunteer in a developing country....I’ve spent the last few years researching what happens to young people when they have such an immersive experience in a community radically different from their own. The answer, in short, is that gap years can help change students in ways the world needs."
  • The art of volunteering. NY Daily News: "It’s no secret that artists, to a certain extent, are used to working for free – they don’t call them starving for nothing. However, these days, a new organization, the Artist Volunteer Center, is helping creative types provide free labor for good causes by developing and promoting arts programs. Strengthening the bonds between artists and community outreach organizations looking to promote the arts is mutually beneficial, says the nonprofit’s founder, Jason Maas."
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