Ask A Progeek – Volunteering

What’s our “Ask A Progeek” question today?  This comes from “Manga Therapy” and my posts on my job search findings!

I was wondering what do you think of volunteer work while job searching.

The short answer is “I think it’s a wonderful idea,” but let’s go into this in a bit more detail, because it’s important.

Volunteer work has several things that make it important to do while job searching:

  • It keeps your resume from having disturbing blank spaces.  Those are always a pain to explain (trust me).
  • It keeps your skills fresh and lets you learn new ones – very important if you’re in a search for a long haul.
  • It lets you network while looking because you’re meeting other people as you do this work.
  • It helps you stay confident by showing what you can do, being valued, and being involved.
  • On your job search it shows something more about you – how you get involved

So, I’m all for volunteer work, but there’s a few things to consider as well:

  • Do you have the time?  I know that my intense job searches left me little time for anything else.
  • Are you doing it for the right reasons?  Yes it’s good for your career, but some form of volunteer work need more commitment and concern, so make sure you’re involved in something that fits you.
  • Are you ready for the commitments – and are the people you’re working with?  If this volunteer work is just until you find a job, you could end up disappointing people and affecting your relationships.

So I’m all for it – but make sure you know your motivations, keep your relationships open, and think about what you’re doing.

For me the best kind of volunteer work is what you do even when not looking for a job.  When you find you have more time due to, say, unemployment, you can put more time in.  But the best kind, the kind that improves you and improves your job prospects, is something you’d do anyway.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach for professional and potentially professional geeks, fans, and otaku. He can be reached at