After a few months of arduous job searching, sending out hundreds of applications, and completing interviews with no offers can be frustrating and can leave you burned out. Believe it or not, volunteering might be able to help you out of that morass and it may also help you in your job search!

In honor of Make A Difference Day tomorrow, here is a list of just a few reasons why volunteering at a local non-profit organization can enhance your job search and also your attitude!

Get Out and About
The computer screen can be hypnotic. It’s just too easy to sit there and keep filling out job applications, or surfing the internet looking for that perfect position, or maybe just killing time reading news, playing games or updating your LinkedIn profile just one more time. Job search statistics show that 60 percent of job offers come from your network, not from a web page application. So pull yourself away from that keyboard and screen. Volunteer at a local community organization once a week for part of a day get out and do something useful and more immediately rewarding.  (Just try to make sure it does not involve a computer screen or internet access!)

Apply Your Expertise
So, you list several dozen skills on your resume that you could easily repeat in your sleep. Even now as you are in between jobs you can still put those skills to work. Non-profit organizations frequently have needs for marketing/sales, management, finance, technical, process improvement, and many other functions. You’ve got the skills so keep them sharp and apply them at an organization that could really use them but can’t afford to pay for them. Volunteer and give them a hand one day a week. Just let them know you are in job search mode and may need to adjust your schedule, they’ll understand.

Enhance Your Network
As previously noted, 60 percent of landings come from a network connection. Getting out and meeting people via volunteering is a good way to expand your network. Remember the more new people you meet, the more likely it will be that they can help connect you to a career.

Do Good, Feel Good
It’s been said many times that volunteers get more than they give. In my personal situation as a volunteer instructor and Career Coach at CareerPlace, I can readily attest to that fact. Helping just one person accomplish even one simple task can be a big psychological lift. And that’s a lift you probably could use right now.

Find Your Next Career
After volunteering, you may find that working at a non-profit organization may be your cup of tea and decide to take an open position with them. Or, they may realize that you are too valuable to let leave and they may create a position to match your capabilities, maybe even coming close to your compensation needs. Volunteering will give you the opportunity to show your real value. Let’s say your background is in marketing and through your volunteer work you were able to show how the organization could double their annual donations. Now that’s real value they might be willing to pay to get full time. At minimum you should note that accomplishment in future interviews. Volunteer work that includes real accomplishments should be listed on your resume and noted during interviews.

In summary, volunteering could help you more than the organizations you help! If you’re looking to enhance your skills and help others, consider volunteering at your favorite organization this weekend! Not sure where to volunteer? Click here to find an organization that matches your interests!