FORT LAUDERDALE – Competitive! Competitive! Competitive! That’s the word every one uses when describing the current state of the job market in South Florida. With store closing from Macy’s, Sears and Kmart, to name a few, the market in South Florida is just flooded with more and more job seekers from every walk of Life. Are you seeking a full-time job? If you answered, “yes”, you need to think outside of the box! Think about volunteering to find a full-time job!
During a job-transition, it’s important to stay upbeat and positive about your job search. Have you thought about volunteering? The Corporation for National and Community Service published a report that suggested that volunteers had a 27% better chance of finding a job than those who didn’t. It does pay to volunteer!
The Center for Economic and Policy Research found that unemployed people who volunteered 20 hours a week to a non-profit organization were about 10% more likely to find employment within six months than those who didn’t volunteer. Volunteering can progress your career into full-time employment by gaining new skills on the job and putting those skills and new-found knowledge to work for a new employer who is impressed by your volunteer work on your updated LinkedIn Profile and reaches out to you to set up an job interview.
Unfortunately, age discrimination is a reality in Corporate America and government agencies have reported that job seekers 55 or older, on average, are unemployed six months longer that their counterparts age 25 – 35. Volunteering offers some of the best opportunities to build social networks and get referrals for new employment which are the top reason why volunteering is so beneficial for job hunters. Yes, you can! You can turn a volunteer gig into full-time employment. New skills, a new social network, great self-confidence and a positive, upbeat view of Life is the name of the Game!
Here is food for thought! Are you still paying of federal student loans? You may want to consider volunteering for a 501(c)(3) “nonprofit organization” and if you have a chance to get on board with their organization as a full-time employee, you can explore applying for Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness (see exact guidelines). After 120 qualifying payments coupled with the new “Pay as You Go” or “Income Capacity” Programs while working at least 30 hours a week for a not-for-profit organization, you may qualify for full Student Loan Forgiveness. So, volunteerism can also offer great protection for your retirement. Keep in mind that as the Education Department steps up their garnishments of social security benefits to cover old student loan debts, now more than ever, it’s time to think outside of the box in this competitive job market — not only for finding a new full-time job but also with these added benefits: (1) qualifying for Student Loan Forgiveness and (2) protection of your Social Security Benefits for your retirement. Please do not find yourself in the predicament where your Social Security Benefits are garnished by the Education Department for unpaid student loan debt.
If you can find use volunteerism to progress into a full-time job with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, get paid while contributing to a great cause in your community and build your qualification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (“PSLG”) to protect your retirement, by all means, go for it!
Start with your own passion. Are you passionate about a specific cause like fighting cancer or Alzheimers? If you have a skill like culinary arts, why not volunteer to an organization like “God’s Love We Deliver” that delivers meals to people living with cancer and HIV/AIDS and Alzheimers? It’s rewarding and with offers a great deal of personal satisfaction. If you are an IT specialist, you can volunteer for an organization like the United Way and work on technology committees that work hard to build and equip communication centers for the mentally-handicap adults and children so that they can become more productive in mainstream society and make a valuable contribution.
Volunteering offers a variety of benefits by helping you acquire new skills, build and establish a social network and stay engaged in the Corporate America while acquiring new skills and most importantly, staying relevant to the job marketplace! Demonstrating social purpose will go a long way when finding a new job because it could impress a hiring manager who sees your updated LinkedIn Profile and wants to meet you in person to discuss your experience as the key person working with a nonprofit organization. Volunteering offers you so many options for building your social network and maximizing your full-time employment possibilities. It’s all about keeping yourself relevant to the marketplace!
If you are unemployed, it is easy to go right into a slump which is not only counterproductive but also highly-destructive for your self-esteem and self-confidence. Volunteering is a highly robust way to rebuke the “slump”, build your social network, acquire new skills and pull yourself up by your bootstraps. It does get better!
Reference: His Holiness, The Dalai Lama: “The Art of Happiness”.
Reference: Albert Schweitzer, “Answering the Call: The Doctor Who Made Africa His Life: The Remarkable Story of Albert Schweitzer (Christian Encounters)”.
Reference: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (King Legacy)”.