Volunteer Your Way to a Job


Go volunteer has become my mantra when doling out advice on career transitions for job seekers of all ages. If you don’t know what you want to do or should be doing, or your stomach is in knots because NO ONE is calling you back for a job interview, then get up, get out, and do something for someone else.

The payback is plain when you volunteer for the charity that’s near and dear to your heart. And chances are, you’ve already been devoting your time to one or two for some of your working years already. Nearly half of all Americans age 55 and over volunteered at least once in the past year, according to

Volunteering—for a charity or a for-profit—can shape the next chapter of your life and lead to a specific job. It might spur an idea for a job to pursue, or open a door to meet someone who can help you in your hunt.

Simply put, doing good makes you, well, feel good—even if you’re just singing songs with patients in an Alzheimer’s unit at an assisted-care home on Sunday afternoons. It’s a warm glow of giving back to others, and for a brief time you get out of your own brain that’s perhaps riddled with anxiety if the job market has you down. It gives you a perspective on the world outside your private worries. It’s a confidence booster. You’re needed. You make a difference. You’re engaged.

You also make new acquaintances. I’ll say ...

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