Whether or not you’re currently looking for work, there are few things more gratifying than helping others find jobs. Career experts say giving back can also transfer into more positive feelings about your own career or job search. “Volunteers have to be positive, upbeat, and energetic, and by ‘acting as if’ you are all of those things while you volunteer, you actually start to feel them again yourself, which can help reinvigorate your own search,” says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO/Founder of FlexJobs.
Volunteering in whatever capacity can also help you stay active and engaged. “It is a great way to gain new skills to add to your resume or to refresh skills that you haven’t used for a while. You will [also] develop a new network who can [help],” says recruiter and author Abby Kohut. So while hiring is still slow in many areas, and job cuts are still a reality, why not help someone if you have time and experience to give?
Here are 3 great ways to get started.
Helping people look the part
1. Dress For Success
Since its debut in 1997, Dress For Success (DFS) has helped 600,000 women prepare for job interviews. Seventy percent of DFS clients are single moms living below the poverty line. This inspiring organization isn’t just about clothing its clients in appropriate attire, though, as the name might indicate. It also gives them career development tools and networking opportunities. You can get your company involved by combining efforts with co-workers for a clothing drive. Or volunteer as a personal shopper, speaker, mentor, or career counselor.
Helping those over 40
2. AARP Foundation Work Information Network
On The Job has covered the challenges those over 50 face in today’s job market. The AARP Foundation Work Information Network is a nationwide organization that helps struggling people over 40 (that’s right, not just seniors) find their place in today’s job market. Specific areas where they use volunteers include technology training, resume revising, practice interviewing, and local job search advising.
3. Local Agencies
Your town’s unemployment center, local library, or shelter may be able to use your experience, clothing, money, or office equipment and supplies to help those who are unemployed in your own town. For instance, a public library in San Mateo, California is looking for local volunteers with HR or computer skills to help job-seekers, while in Mesa, Arizona, a Goodwill center is advertising job search help and free access to fax machines and phones.
Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com. Follow her on Twitter at@MWOnTheJob.