They Restarted Through Volunteering. So Can YOU!
- Back to Work
- 06 Aug 2018
A volunteer role plays a significant part in your career growth not just in your initial years after college, but also when you're looking to restart your career after a long break.
Being out of the job market for more than a year can play havoc with your confidence levels, whatever your reason for the break. The key is to have a plan. And interestingly, the only person who can help you out of this situation is YOU!
Here are 5 ways volunteering can help get you job-ready whenever you decide to come back to your career:
1. Improves Confidence
Volunteering not only builds your confidence levels, it also gives you the courage to stand up for what you want to pursue. It gives you the key to unlocking a whole new world of opportunities when you decide to get back to a full-time job.
Sundari S restarted her career as a volunteer with JobsForHer after a 9-year career break.
"Volunteering helped me understand the current market trends and focus on areas of improvement when restarting after a long break. The webinars and the (RestartHer) conference held last year helped me assess my professional stand, appreciate my work in my areas of strength, and boost self-confidence".
2. Teaches you Something New
When you choose to volunteer, you open the doors of opportunity and knowledge. It gives you the flexibility to dabble in varied areas of interest, and maybe even something you've never tried your hand at before.
If you had always been in the field of HR, volunteering can give you an opportunity to work with a different department, like marketing. And, who knows, you might excel at it thanks to the dozen-odd skills you picked up while on your career break.Volunteering can show you HOW MUCH you can actually do!
3. Provides Hands-on Experience
Volunteering is a great way to pick up where you left when you decided to take a step back from your career. It helps you brush up your knowledge of your area of expertise. It lets you catch up on industry trends that have passed you by in the years away from the workforce. The hands-on experience you gain from a volunteering gig will hold you in good stead when you apply for a full-time job role later.
This is Vinutha Sowjerla's take on how volunteering helped her get back to work after a 6-year career break:
"Volunteering with JobsForHer has helped me build resilience - something which is very important when you fall and are afraid to get back up and try again. But I stepped out of my comfort zone and decided to volunteer.
It taught me essential lessons on grit and the true essence of networking and building the right connections. All of these put together helped me find my current job, which I love!"
4) Makes you a Team Player
Let's face it. Regardless of the reason for your career break, all these years away from a work environment might have turned you into somewhat of an introvert, making you second-guess everything you do. It might have even led you to shy away from social gatherings because you have nothing substantial to contribute to an intelligent conversation.
Volunteering will help you throw these feelings out the window and come back stronger. It puts you in the middle of a varied group of people - different ages, cultures, experiences...
As intimidating as it might be in the beginning, your desire to learn, grow, and be part of this diverse mix will ultimately bring out the best in you. Working with a team helps you learn quickly to work together towards a common, shared goal with a deadline.
And, who knows, you might just turn out to be the life of the party, too!
5) Helps in Setting a Goal and Staying Focused
This is perhaps the most crucial part of a career restart. Setting a goal helps you plan your career moves intelligently. It puts the rest of your activities in perspective. It helps you set a routine. And volunteering is a great way to incorporate this into your day-to-day life. It helps you set that goal, and also helps you achieve it!
The idea of volunteering might seem absurd particularly if you carry years of experience in your stride. But, don't forget, every break teaches you something, no matter how short.
A volunteer role will help you stay focused on your goal, and on your need to get back to work.