Vounteering and Your Job Search

As our economy continues to be fraught with substantial numbers of layoffs and job cuts, many of those casualties are choosing to focus on volunteer work as opposed to a job search. Sarah Boesveld writes, “What I did on my layoff” in today’s Globe and Mail.

Robert Levine, Director of Projects Abroad Canada says, “My guess is we’re going to see a huge influx of people who have been laid off applying in the next month or two”, adding that there has been a 53% increase in interest at their office in Britain. Neil Finnie, partners manager with Global Vision International, a volunteer organization based in Britain, says the job market is so barren that laid-off employees are taking a “gap year” normally reserved for youngsters fresh out of school. While seeing the world and helping others, volunteers can also live on a limited dime, he says.

Martin Buckland was also interviewed for this article and offered his career management expertise saying an employer is often impressed to see a resume with volunteer experience, adding, “It tells the recruiters and HR professionals that they are willing to share, they’re willing to care and they make good use of their time. They’re community-spirited, which is very, very important these days.”

Mr. Gagnon, whose volunteer experience led him to his ultimate career in international development and a position with Canadian Crossroads International said, “The first thing is not, ‘Will it look good on my résumé?’ It’s the feeling of compassion, of wanting to make a difference,” he says. “It takes courage to leave things behind and build a new life.”

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