Have you recently become unemployed? Figuring out what to do during a period of unemployment can be difficult for many people, and most simply use this time to apply to as many open positions as they can find. Though filling out applications ad-nauseam is critical to landing you a new job, finding a local non-profit to volunteer for can be a great way to both give back to your community and help you advance your career.

Improve Your Resume

Committing yourself to volunteer work while unemployed can be beneficial in many ways, especially because doing so can increase your contact network substantially. Even if the non-profit you choose to volunteer for is entirely unrelated to your professional field, growing your personal contact network can assist you in developing relationships with others which could easily lead you to your next job. Filling your unemployed time on your resume with volunteer work also makes you much more appealing to potential employers because instead of seeing a large gap in your employment history, they see that you were actually doing something of value during that time. Volunteer work can additionally aid you in developing new and unconventional skills that will make you stand out to potential employers.

Help Your Community

Laboring in an office all day often leaves many of us disconnected from our unique communities, and volunteer work opens up a world of possibilities and experiences rarely seen in the business world. Each community has its own set of challenges and obstacles from which many of us are, understandably, shielded by our day-to-day work lives, and non-profits fight to overcome these challenges every day. Learning more about issues relevant to your community and developing an awareness of the struggles of others can assist you in becoming a more community-minded individual.

Build Confidence

And finally, engaging in service to others during your unemployment time is sure to help you develop a greater sense of self-worth. Being laid-off, fired, or quitting a job can be a huge blow to your self-esteem, and developing qualities of compassion, charity, and social awareness will make you a much happier person during your unemployment.