Goodwill can only take you so far, but it can do a lot more than you may have imagined. There’s no point jumping in blind though, because for any working relationship with anyone to be of advantage, it needs to be mutually beneficial.
You’ve a life to live, and so does everyone else. The only difference is that some organisations don’t survive without funders, or campaigners, or activists involved in their cause to raise awareness, and therefore finance for the cause. Not every business is profitable, because there are some that are operated solely on spirit.
The spirit of the goodwill of others with a goal of helping others and that’s what you can use to enhance yourself, your skills and influence your employability factor.
Where to Focus Your Good Will to Enhance Your CV
Specifically, how can you use your unpaid time to influence what a business will pay you for?
That’s the real question and it’s not as easy as simply saying you’re content with volunteering. You’ll only be content with it if there’s something in it for you, because if you’re not getting paid, you need to be getting something.
1) What do you need evidence of?
If your CV lacks credibility, you need something that brings an element of proof.
Say for example, you need evidence of leadership skills. You could look to the voluntary sector and get involved with coaching a local sports team. Or you could be the team leader of a fundraising campaign. Or you could be the event’s organiser, who’d be the person responsible for ensuring everything goes well on the day, which equates to leading a lot of people, delegating a fair bit and working with compliance officers to ensure the legalities are covered.
Whatever you need evidence of, there’s likely to be a charity, event, or a society in your neck of the woods that could use your time to give you the evidence your CV is missing.
2) The People Connection
Networking is the major element that’s going to take you places. For that reason, events are your best friend. No matter what it is - a local fair, fun day, bake sale, or local food market event, the local press will always be nearby providing commentary on the event to the local community. The more of an active role you play in the event, the better chance you have of speaking and hopefully connecting with the local news reporter.
Those people are connected and will continue to connect with other people. In fact, they may well be the most diverse people in a community with knowledge, history and working relationships with the majority of small and local businesses that play an active part in the community. Tap into their network, and you’ll tap into multiple.
3) Career Planning (or mental wellbeing) preferably both
This one is important to mention because you may well be paying too much attention to your career, which is not good. Despite what your employment advisor may tell you.
For those in work, developing a career progression plan or a personal development plan is advantageous. It’s a tool that lets you set out clearly where you are now, and develops a roadmap to take you to where you want to be in the future.
For those who are out of work, a personal development plan will be the last thing on your mind, because first and foremost is getting a job. It’s hard to think about anything else when your bank account is in the red, or diminishing to low figures fast.
The first National Study of Work-Search and Wellbeing was back in 2012. This was in relation to Jobseekers claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) and had developed a Common Mental Disorder (CMD):
“JSA claimants with a CMD hold more negative views about work.”
• They have less self-confidence about their work-search abilities than claimants without a CMD.
• They send out somewhat fewer job applications.
• They have generally much lower levels of optimism about the future.
• People with CMDs were less likely to gain jobs over the study period
• People identified with a CMD at the beginning of the study were less likely to start a job during the study period.
Therefore, for those who aren’t working at present, don’t make a career progression plan or personal development plan a priority.
Your mental health is priority.
If you don’t take care of your mental health, the outlook won’t be good as you’d be risking your career and your quality of life. Prioritise your health first and foremost.
When you’re in employment, any job, then it’s a good time to put together an action plan for developing your career.
As the saying goes, it’s easier to find work when you’re in work. Find work first and then take control of your future work prospects.
When you’re out of work, self-esteem is low and that’s the time you should not be sitting idly by playing computer games on the sofa. Get yourself active, among those in your community and use goodwill to benefit others and yourself in the process.
• A reason to get up in the morning
• Plus it sure beats depression – because giving time is proven to increase happiness!
That’s just a few of the instant benefits, but for the long-term career potential, there are many more advantages.
For those who are already in paid employment, the next logical step is to make sure you’re in the right type of job. That your long-term career ambitions are being catered to and if not, have a progression plan in place to get you into your ideal job role.
For those who aren’t in work, you’ll have much more time on your hands. Not that you’ll have all day because active job searching takes a lot of time. But you need to take some time for yourself so as to take care of your mental wellbeing.
One of the surest ways of doing that is to use your goodwill to benefit others. Give your time and you’ll gain some invaluable lessons and a goodwill spot for your CV in the process.