Work Life

Should You Consider Unpaid or Volunteer Work to Get a Job?


When you really need a job, it’s hard to consider unpaid or volunteer work. But it just might be the ticket in to a more lucrative position.

If you choose carefully and do your research, it is possible for unpaid experience to help you land a permanent position. Here are some things to consider as you start this venture.

1. The Advantage of Tough Economic Times

Generally speaking, economic struggle means competition for jobs is tough. While this seems discouraging, there is actually an advantage here. Businesses that are struggling financially may be more open to taking on a volunteer or intern, because unpaid help is pretty attractive when you’re under financial strain. And struggling businesses are going to be pickier about whom they hire – a disadvantage in a way, but an advantage in that they will only be hiring serious, interested candidates. If you are willing to work for no pay, you are showing that you are one of these rare individuals.

2. Experience

Volunteering and unpaid internships provide valuable experience. Again, in highly competitive times, how much experience you have or don’t have can make the difference between getting a job or being passed over. The fact that you were willing to volunteer your time to learn a skill shows that you are serious about acquiring that skill, too.

3. Networking

There’s just no doubt that who you know can be the thing that gets you a job. And the more people you know in your field who have a positive impression of you, the better your chances are of getting into a permanent position later. Internships and volunteer positions are a fantastic way to make connections that will benefit you (and the other person) later.

4. The Old-Fashioned Apprenticeship

Did you know that studies have shown we learn a skill best when it’s presented through an apprenticeship? In the old days, this is how you learned a skill – you were apprenticed to a skilled worker and learned the trade. An internship and volunteering are like a modern version of this age-old way of learning the ropes. So at the end of your unpaid experience, you may very well have a better grasp on the necessary skills than someone who has only learned in the classroom.

While there are certainly pros and cons to volunteering and internships, there are definitely advantages. Think of it as investing your time so as to reap financial stability in the future.

Photo by TrueFalseFilmFestival

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