How Volunteering Can Help You Get a Job, with Mark Anthony Dyson

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Transcript

Mac Prichard: 

Hi. This is Mac, from Mac’s List. Before we start the show, I want to let you know about my new book, Land Your Dream Job Anywhere. I’ve been helping job seekers find meaningful, well-paying work since 2001; and now, I’ve put all my best advice into one easy-to-use guide. My book shows you how to make your resume stand out in a stack of applications, where you can find the hidden jobs that never get posted, and what you need to do to ace your next job interview. Get the first chapter now for free. Visit https://www.macslist.org/land-dream-job-anywhere/?q=/anywhere.

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life. I’m Mac Prichard, your host, and publisher of Mac’s List. I’m joined by my co-hosts, Ben Forstag, and Jessica Black from the Mac’s List team.

This week we’re talking about how volunteering can help you land your next job.

Volunteering your time to help others offers a lot of satisfactions. It’s also good for your career and it may even help you get your next job. Our guest expert this week is Mark Anthony Dyson. He says, “People who volunteer do better both at work and when job hunting.” Mark and I talk later in the show.

There is no shortage of places where you might volunteer. Ben Forstag has found a website that matches volunteers and organizations. He tells us more in a moment.

Can being your authentic, assertive self help your prospects in a job interview? That’s the listener question of the week. It comes from Mary Anne Rice in Portland, Oregon. Jessica Black shares her advice shortly.

First, as always, let’s check in with the Mac’s List team.

What difference, Jessica, Ben, has volunteering made in your own job searches or the job hunts of your friends and colleagues?

Jessica Black:

I think volunteering has definitely improved my life in multiple ways, but especially in advancing my network, or in expanding my network. And, yeah, I can’t say enough good things… it’s just been a really improving factor in my life.

Mac Prichard:

Is there on example that comes to mind, Jessica, when you think about how volunteering has helped your network? What’s going through your head?

Jessica Black:

Well I guess I…after college I took some time off and I lived abroad, and coming back to Portland after that, it was a really great way to re-acclimate into Portland, and get to know people around here that were my age, and doing other things that I was interested in, because I felt very disconnected from that having not been around for a little while, and that really helped… just…build those connections and find out about new organizations that I didn’t know about beforehand, and get involved in some things that I may not have found otherwise.

Mac Prichard:

So it was a reintroduction to your hometown.

Jessica Black:

Absolutely.

Mac Prichard:

Okay, how about you Ben? How has volunteering helped you either in looking for work or in your career or maybe just in general?

Ben Forstag:

Well I have a confession to make which is…

Mac Prichard:

Okay, full disclosure…

Ben Forstag:

Yeah, I do not volunteer as much as I should or could do in my life, and it’s not something I’m proud of, it’s just…not something I’ve ever been really good at or done a whole lot of, probably to my own detriment and, you know… I know when we were interviewing you Jessica, one of the things that really stood out in your application was how active you were in the community and you were a volunteer for two or three organizations that we knew in town and that, like, really separated you from the bunch of other applications that we got. So, I could see how volunteering helped you out.

I also know that from my wife, she is a  lawyer by training, and she volunteers…or she has volunteered in the past to provide legal services to small nonprofits that need legal assistance, and for her, she enjoys doing it, and often she’s doing a favor for friends.

But it has actually, led to other opportunities for her, and at the very least, when there’s gaps in her employment history, you know, she’s been looking for work, or she’s been out of work; or over the last couple of years watching our children most of the time. That pro-bono work that she does something that fills in those blank spaces on the resume.

And it’s like a nice… it’s a nice, supplemental experience, to feature when she doesn’t have a formal job experience.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, absolutely.

Mac Prichard:

And I know that, Ben, many of the jobs that you have had in your career have a definite public spirit bent to them. I think particularly about your time in high school and college working, as a camp counselor; that was a big part of your career in your twenties.  So I don’t want listeners to think that you’re standing on the porch of your house yelling at kids, “Hey, get off my lawn.”

Jessica Black:

Well, he does that too.

Ben Forstag:

Well, I appreciate you trying to rehabilitate my image here, Mac. I’m not sitting there, like, fingering through hundred dollar bills, and lighting cigars with them. I mean, serving others has been an important part of my life, and for a long time I’ve worked in non-profits, with children, at a summer camp.

Frankly, these days, between work, and family, and a lot of other things, I feel like I just don’t have enough time to volunteer. But it’s one of those things that I know I should, and will, redeem in the future.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, and I think the point you’re making is one a lot of people will identify with, which is, we’re pressed for time. And we have to set priorities, and sometimes we just may not have the time that we’d like to volunteer.

Certainly in my career, I’ve done a lot of volunteering; serving on boards, and committees, and working on political campaigns on my own time, and I know we’ve talked about this before, as a team on the show. But volunteering was invaluable in covering resume gaps for me when I was unemployed three times.

They also, because of the volunteer gigs I took, during those periods were related to my career goals; it was a great way to get in front of peers, in that field, and prospective employers.

I do know from talking to people on the Mac’s List community, sometimes folks get frustrated and they think, “Oh, if I volunteer at an organization where I want to work, it will lead to a job offer.” And, I’ve never had that experience. I think it’s very rare. But there are so many other benefits to volunteering and we’ll talk more about those with Mark later on the show.

Jessica Black:

It is pretty rare, I think, to your point, that it leads directly to a job, But I do think, to both of your points, providing…that sort of…putting your face in front of other people, that maybe you wouldn’t meet, or you’re just  a name on a resume. Getting that, sort of, first in person experience, is really beneficial; that if there does happen to be a job that opens up in that organization and you really love the work that you’re doing and have proven that you’re an asset to that organization, then that could be an easy transition. And so I think that that’s… I think, last week we had a listener question about how to show… showcase, instead of speak your accomplishments, and I think that that’s a really good way of having a hiring manager see you, first hand, in the trenches…the trenches, if you will, instead of just saying it and trying to get hired.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, showing rather than telling is always a good approach whether, it’s job hunting or writing, or just life in general.

Good. Well, thank you Jessica ,and, you as well Ben, and let’s turn back to you, Ben, because you’re out there every week exploring the internet, looking for those tools, books, and websites, our listeners can use in a job search or career. So, what have you uncovered for our audience this week. Ben?

Ben Forstag:

So this week I want to talk about a website that helps people who are looking for volunteer opportunities and organizations that are looking for volunteers. The website is called VolunteerMatch; it’s available at http://www.volunteermatch.org/. It is essentially a matchmaking site; it is a dating site, for you, and organizations that can use you, and your passion, and energy.

Mac Prichard:

So is there swiping left and right, here?

Ben Forstag:

There is no swiping left and right; there is no hot or not, in this with the organizations. But it essentially works the same way; where you enter information about yourself and it connects you with organizations that could use your skills. So there are some big numbers around this website which I think, speaks to it’s legitimacy and its use. So VolunteerMatch has 82,202 volunteer opportunities, with listings from over 111,000 participating organizations. And to date, 11,882,247 volunteers have been matched with organizations. So that’s a lot of people who have used this site, and so you should be one of them if you’re not. The listings here come from a hundred different cities across the country, as well as virtual volunteer opportunities, that you can do remotely at home or anywhere else, which is a key one I think. I think, a lot of people think…like, volunteer means you have to go down to a soup kitchen, or you have to do something else. There are plenty of things that you can do from your home, probably using a computer, that would help a lot of organizations.

Jessica Black:

Admin opportunities, yeah.

Ben Forstag:

Yeah. You can sort volunteer opportunities by keywords, or by one of twenty-nine different causes. But the coolest thing, I think, is that you can select the skills you currently have and it will match you with organizations that need those specific skills.

We’ve talked in the past about when you do volunteer work, it’s important to… if you are using volunteer opportunity as a job search tool, that you want to exercise your professional skills in that volunteer opportunity.

And I know the example we’ve talked about before is, you know…if you want, to get a job in marketing, volunteering to go down to the dog shelter and walk the dogs, while a very good and honorable thing to do, is probably not the best tool for finding  a job in the marketing space. Instead you might want to help that dog shelter develop a social media strategy, or do something else in the marketing space.

So, the nice thing about VolunteerMatch is that you can take the skills that you have or that you want to work on, and you can  say, “This is what I am able to provide you.” And those organizations will come and say, “Yes, we need your help.”

So again, this is VolunteerMatch, it’s at http://www.volunteermatch.org/ and as always we will have the URL in the shownotes.

Mac Prichard:

Well great. Well thanks Ben,and I think you’re right, you have to have a strategy if you’re… when volunteering, if you want it to support your job search or your career. So showing up and volunteering for a worthy cause, while, worthwhile, is probably not going to be as supportive in your job search, or your career, unless you have some thought behind  why you’re there and what you hope to get out of the experience.

Ben Forstag:

Absolutely. And this is not to say that walking dogs is a bad thing. Listen to me; I’m the guy who doesn’t volunteer and you shouldn’t walk a dog. But no…that if you are using it as a job search tool you just want  to stay within your professional skill set.

Mac Prichard:

Right. Or know how the experience can help you professionally. Well terrific. Well thanks, Ben. And if you have a suggestion for Ben, please write him and we may share your idea on the show. His address is ben@macslist.org.

Now,  let’s turn to you, our listeners. Jessica Black is here to answer one of your questions. What’s in the Mac’s List mailbag this week, Jessica?

Jessica Black:

Great, we have an excellent question from Mary Anne Rice, here in Portland. And let’s hear what she has to say.

Mary Anne Rice:

My name is Mary Anne Rice and I’m calling from Portland, Oregon. My question is, I’m an assertive woman, with strong leadership. Do I hurt my  job process by sharing my authentic self in a job interview?

Jessica Black:

Thanks Mary Anne. That was a great question, and I think absolutely…great, great job on being assertive with strong leadership. That is only gonna help you and I definitely think that being your authentic self in a job interview is only going to position you well, and…you know, if that doesn’t lead to the prospects that you’re interested in, then it may just be that it’s not the right fit. And I would definitely never, ever hinder your authentic self to fit into what you think is the right opportunities.

So I think, saying it again, I think it’s only gonna help you and, you know, usually people are advocating for strong leadership in their organizations, so if you come in with those skills already built in, I think that is only going to be an asset to that organization.

Ben Forstag:

I’d agree with you, and we’ve talked in the past about how it’s a catch twenty-two for women, where if they’re… they’ve got a reputation of not being assertive enough, but then, when they start being assertive, they get a reputation of being difficult to manage.

Jessica Black:

Yup. Or other words.

Ben Forstag:

Yeah, that’s an unfortunate dynamic. But I think that you need to be authentic to yourself. And I think  leadership is a skill that many organizations appreciate, and I tell people this all the time, frankly, if an organization doesn’t appreciate what you have to bring to the table, especially a positive skill like leadership, it’s probably not the right  organization for you, and you wouldn’t be happy there anyway.

Jessica Black:

Yeah. Exactly.

Mac Prichard:

I’ve found that, when, in my career, I’ve told my boss what she or he wanted to hear, rather than what I thought, it was not a good strategy. Because they eventually could tell. They really did want to hear, in the end, what you thought, and they wanted you to be who you were. And when they didn’t, to Ben’s point, that was not a place where you wanted to be. And I’ve been in a couple places like that too.

Jessica Black:

I’ve been there too. I was just gonna say, I’ve worked in spaces where, because I also, similarly Mary Anne. have very, quote unquote “strong leadership skills,” aka tend to be on the bossy side – and I say bossy as a good thing.

Ben Forstag:

You keep us all in line, Jessica. Only three months and we’re already standing up a little straighter.

Jessica Black:

Oh good! I’m glad to hear that. But yes, I’ve never really been one to keep my opinions to myself, and so… but I’ve been in situations in organizations where I’ve provided my feedback and wanted to improve the organization, and that was stifled and that is really a terrible feeling, and you just don’t want to get yourself into a situation where you want to provide some value to the organization and you want your voice to be heard, and it’s just not acceptable.

So, definitely, speak up from the top, and you won’t get into that situation.

Mac Prichard:

Excellent advice. Well thank you, Jessica. And thank you, Mary Anne, for that great question. If you have a question for Jessica please email her. Her address is, jessica@macslist.org. Or call the listener line. That number is 716-JOB TALK. That’s 716-562-8255.

If we use your question on the show, we’ll send you a copy of Land Your Dream Job Anywhere. We’re getting Mary Anne’s copy in the mail this week. And we would love to send you one as well so give us a call, and we look forward to hearing from you.

We will be back in just a moment, and when we return, I’ll talk with this week’s guest, Mark Anthony Dyson, about how volunteering can help you get a job.

Most people struggle with job hunting. The reason is simple, most of us learn the nuts and bolts of looking for work by trial and error. That’s why I produce this podcast, to help you master the skills you need to find a great job. It’s also why I wrote my new book, Land Your Dream Job Anywhere. For fifteen years of Mac’s List, I’ve helped people in Portland Oregon, find meaningful, well paying, and rewarding jobs that they love. Now I’ve put all of my job hunting secrets in one book, that can help you no matter where you live. You’ll learn how to get clear about your career goals, find hidden jobs that never get posted, and ace your next job interview. For more information, and to download the first chapter for free, visit https://www.macslist.org/land-dream-job-anywhere/?q=/anywhere.

Now let’s turn to this week’s guest expert, Mark Anthony Dyson. Mark is a career consultant who helps unemployed, underemployed, and underappreciated job seekers. Mark’s advice has appeared in US News and World Report (https://www.usnews.com/), Monster (https://www.monster.com/), Fox Business (http://www.foxbusiness.com/), and Time Magazine. (http://time.com/). He’s also the founder of the award winning career blog and podcast, The Voice of Job Seekers (http://thevoiceofjobseekers.com/). Mark joins us today from Chicago, Illinois. Mark, thanks for coming on the show.

Mark Anthony Dyson:

Thanks for having me, Mac. It’s great to be here.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, it’s an honor to have you. Our topic this week is, as you know, is how volunteering can help your career or even… help you get a job. Let’s start by talking about the benefits of volunteering for people who work full time. And we’ll talk later in the interview about people who are looking for work. But I can imagine that some of our listeners are thinking, “Gosh, it’s difficult to volunteer while working and holding a day job.” What do you say to folks like that? How can volunteering help their career?

Mark Anthony Dyson:

Well, volunteering, first of all is a…. usually, one hundred percent controllable by you, depending on your cause. Now of course if you’re trying… if you’re interested in going into the Peace Corps and working, there’s a few possibilities there, but a lot of people do that as sort of a…. a very invested commitment.

As well as some of the other organizations, but there are many organizations that would love to just have you  ten hours a week. And if you could do that and do it in a very cheerful and giving way and have some kind of say, is what you could do and use some of the skills that you’ve obtained, it’s a win win for both sides.

Mac Prichard:

What kind of benefits do you see in the people you work with, Mark, who volunteer, whether it’s ten hours or one hour a week, when they get to use those skills for example?

Mark Anthony Dyson:

Well, I think one overall benefit is that people are able to build and control their brand to a great degree. You know, and one of the things we’ll talk about is you get…gain skills, you can put them to the test, through volunteering. And you can create some opportunities that way sometimes, it can go quite a long way.

But all in all, volunteering is also,  just so personally gratifying. Knowing that you are helping and making a small difference in a way that can make, not just a difference to your career, but also help other people. Again, it’s one of those double wins. It’s kinda hard to, once you do it, and you begin to see some of the fruits of it, it can be a fantastic opportunity for your career overall.

Mac Prichard:

I certainly, in my own career, and in the people we work with in Mac’s List see the personal satisfaction that people get from volunteering.

You mentioned brands and personal brands, Mark. Tell us more about how volunteering can  either improve your brand or help you take it in new directions.

Mark Anthony Dyson:

Well, I think when people see you as a volunteer; especially, if it’s, if you’re in the jump on mode, organizations that will vet you will look at volunteering as a very positive thing, much less… other than, you know, trying out new skills, and making them more fruitful. They can connect with you on volunteerings, especially if your cause and your personal cause aligns with the organization, that is seen as a plus.

Mac Prichard:

Okay, so it’s a good way to break out of a box you might have been put in in your nine to five job where people think you only have certain kinds of skills. And you have a chance when volunteering to show off new skills or develop new ones.

Mark Anthony Dyson:

Yeah. Right, and you can even sharpen those newly obtained skills right away. I remember when I first learned Microsoft  office back in the middle nineties, and not only was my boss interested in the investment of the skills, but I was able to turn that around and use that for… to help my church, and that effort was doubly appreciated. So for me, I got the best of both worlds in a sense.

But the practice itself also expanded my ability to use those skills. So very quickly I was able to be more useful than just coming back and sitting at my desk and knowing not what to do. I was able to put some new ideas to the test and expand on them.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, so volunteering at your church made you a more experienced word processor, at least a Microsoft word expert, and your office and your boss saw those benefits during the workday.

Mark Anthony Dyson:

Yeah, exactly, it was actually Excel. Excel was the gold standard. And that was at a time when people were starting to migrate from Lotus to Excel, and it was great to be able to be able to have that. And I remember being able to use that in a project for my church, and it really was a double win for me because it gave me more experience. So when I was able to get promotion, the next time around I had it in the bag. I was ready to go.

Mac Prichard:

Got it. Well, for the benefit of listeners who weren’t there in the 80’s and early 90’s, Lotus123 was a precursor of Excel, and it…. Yeah. Before that there was something called Visicalc (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VisiCalc) …. But I’m really dating myself.

Mark Anthony Dyson:

Well, I’ve already done the damage so..

Mac Prichard:

So I liked also your point, Mark, about how when you volunteer for an organization or a cause, it can create a personal connection with people who look at your resume, or your LinkedIn profile, that might not otherwise be there.

Mark Anthony Dyson:

Exactly. I mean, when you, you know…. We encourage job seekers to do research on a company. When you see that they have a cause that you either worked for a similar cause or a cause that you are interested in, that’s a way to connect with the employer.

There have been a couple of times when as an experiment, that I suggested to somebody who’s already working pretty solid in their career, but they were interested in this company to work for, it was one of the larger technology companies around. And I suggested, “Well, you like to do what they do.” And because they had some press on it, so I suggested, “See if you can volunteer on the same day and connect with a couple people who… maybe network with them.” And not only did they do that, but they were able to get an interview. They didn’t get the job, but they… there was a watershed moment for them; that they saw their volunteer efforts as more than just something that was…you know… just to be personally satisfied. It was a way to create an opportunity.

Mac Prichard:

So they were able to build a relationship outside of the traditional application process, and they basically, in a professional way, went around HR.

Mark Anthony Dyson:

Exactly, exactly. Isn’t it the job search, I mean, the best way to go about the job search, is to exert a little disruption. You know, you’re disrupting the online application, and the resume, and all the screening process, by getting a referral inside. And being that you talked to an employee as somebody who likes you because you have something in common. Why not disrupt the process that way?

Mac Prichard:

So that’s terrific. And you’re preaching to the choir here; we’re all about the hidden job market at Mac’s List and looking for ways to build those relationships, while being respectful of the formal application processes too.

Mark Anthony Dyson:

Sure, sure.

Mac Prichard:

Well, let’s talk about the strategy of volunteering now. You want to do good, and that’s what motivates you, but you can… there’s so many opportunities, Mark. Now, what if you’re thinking about how volunteering can benefit your career or your job search; how do you think people should step back and think about that strategically? What do you see that successful people that you work with do when they think about the strategy of volunteering to help their career?

Mark Anthony Dyson:

Well, people are very successful and understand that they could actually create opportunities not only for themselves but for others. They’re looking at it from a career trajectory point of view. Most of… I don’t exclusively work with executives, or people who are in high level management, but when I do, the one thing that seems to always stand out is that they always volunteer. It was always about giving back. But when they were out of jobs, like during the recession, or… you know, a few years ago when the job market was very troubled; they leaned back on volunteering, and used their volunteering to extend their career possibilities.

So one person I remember learned a couple of new skills through their volunteer organization that they volunteered with. And volunteer organizations were able to have the patience and time, because they were grateful to have the help. But somebody that’s a little savvy, whether they’re tech savvy or they’re very useful with their hands, create those opportunities and find ways to, find the in to…. even create a new career. So it could work to your advantage in so many ways, that the creative part of you has to be there, and be willing to take a chance and spending more time and more effort, creating more value for an organization.

Mac Prichard:

Now let’s talk about job seekers, because we have been talking about people who are employed and volunteering while pursuing a career. But if you are between jobs, Mark, is there a different strategy for volunteering? I think you’ve touched on this, when you were talking about people that you’ve worked with, that were out of work during the recession. Tell us more about what people who are out of work should do when they consider volunteering.

Mark Anthony Dyson:

Well I think that if you’re out of a job and you’re not exactly sure what to do, hopefully you are being active in learning some kind of new skill. That you are looking forward to… figuring out how to create more value for a pending or an employer that you hope to find a job with. You can go, and one thing that people do, and I think that’s kind of winning a little bit lately is that you go and volunteer with an organization that you are interested in working with.

There are many ways that you can do that. One is you can try to network your way in. Another way is to contact the volunteer arm of the organization and see how you can be a part and how you can be a support, and add value that way. Now you’ve got  to be somewhat careful in it; you can’t sound desperate; you can’t sound like you have an endgame amount  in mind.

But if you are offering to authentically help, organizations will be glad to either refer you to another organization or be glad to make you a part of it. And there are organizations that will be glad to make you a part of their efforts, even if it’s once a month or every other week. I know, like big organizations, like, the big fours will have Fridays as a day to volunteer.

And even if it’s just to do something simple, to hand out flyers as a networking opportunity. As you know, networking, as we’ve talked about, is the way to get into any  organizations. So people just need to be creative and look for those opportunities.  They can check the press for where the organizations are at, and to show up, and to possibly find a way to meet people that are there. So again, the creativity is just really important.

Mac Prichard:

Should people who are between jobs, if they are volunteering at an organization where they would like to work, should they expect that volunteer gig to lead to a job offer?

Mark Anthony Dyson:

Not  always. It depends on the organization and their needs. I mean, that’s the other creative part, if you’re… if you know what the organization needs and you can glean that from the job description, from the people you talk to, then the volunteer efforts and…you know…you can look at different Linked In profiles, or Facebook pages to kind of get an idea of what the organization is actually talking about, and if you can fit those needs, you might have more of a possibility.

If it’s random, probably not as much. But it does take being strategic and a lot of forethought needs to go ahead of it, to expect something out of it. If anything,  you can at least make a dent and make more contact. That could be helpful for you; especially if you can possibly get relationships out of it. That’s always helpful.

Mac Prichard:

Well great. Well terrific advice Mark. Now tell us, what’s coming up next for you?

Mark Anthony Dyson:

The blog and the podcast, are my….one of my main vehicles to making it all happen. Love writing for the blog; the blog is going on five years. Actually six years, I’m sorry, we are five and a half years old.

Mac Prichard:

Congratulations, that’s just wonderful.

Mark Anthony Dyson:

Thanks, July of 2011 is when I officially started. And the podcast is going on four years this year. So, I’ve turned out one hundred and fifty episodes, actually more than, at this particular point. And the feedback has been great, and it’s really been a great tool for a lot of people, as they’ve found it and found it useful for them.

Mac Prichard:

I had a chance to listen to an episode last week, just preparing for this conversation, and it’s a terrific show so I encourage our listeners to check it out.

Mark Anthony Dyson:

Thank you.

Mac Prichard:

To find both the blog, the podcast, and other materials that Mark offers people, visit his website and that URL is easy to remember, it’s voice of jobseekers dot com.

Mark Anthony Dyson:

The voice of job seekers: http://thevoiceofjobseekers.com/

Mac Prichard:

Oh, thank you. Okay, I’m glad you said that, and we’ll be sure to fix that in the show notes too. So,  http://thevoiceofjobseekers.com/ and again, we’ll include that in the show notes. Well Mark, thanks for joining us this week.

Mark Anthony Dyson:

Well, thank you.

Mac Prichard:

Take care.

Mark Anthony Dyson:

Alright, take care.

Mac Prichard:

Alright, well we’re back in the Mac’s List studio with Jessica and Ben. I enjoyed that conversation with Mark. What are some of your thoughts, as you two think about what Mark and I discussed?

Ben Forstag:

I really like the point about using volunteering as a form of networking, and I know in the course that we teach around finding jobs, we often say volunteering is networking in the field. It’s kind of like the best of both worlds, where you’re meeting people, and you’re showing people what you can do. And whether that’s something specific to your career and your skill set, or that’s just showing off your passion, or your work ethic; it’s a great opportunity to put yourself front and center in front of other people’s eyes.

And those people might not have jobs to give you right away, but it certainly creates some social capital with those people, that will help you just about anywhere else in your job search.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, I think volunteering is a great way to build those professional networks and you never know where people are gonna surface later in your career. And I know we’ve talked about this before, but you should always give without the expectation of getting anything in return.  And I find, ironically, when I do that, I get so much more back than I ever expected. But it feels so satisfying to do something just because it is the right thing to do, whether it’s to help others professionally, or to volunteer for a nonprofit, or provide some service that is gonna make a difference. Jessica, what are your thoughts?

Jessica Black:

Yeah, I agree with both of those thoughts, and I did really like what he said about… he mentioned, briefly about, getting in front of a hiring manager and maybe they didn’t land the job officially, but they were able to have an interview, they landed an interview that they may not have gotten without the first hand on the field, or in the field experience. And I think that’s sort of touching on what we briefly went over at the beginning of this interview, just expanding that network and how beneficial that can be.

And then, I know in some of Mark’s work he talks about these folks that he makes connections with and builds that network. They can become references, too, when you are looking for that job and I think that that’s really great.

I also really liked what he said about, when you’re in between jobs, and building those active skills. And I know, again, we’ve touched on this before, of building those skills and advancing your, or increasing your relevancy, I guess, in your skill set. And I think that’s really important in staying current and keeping your resume up to date, and all those good things… is really important.

And being creative. I thought that was a really interesting aspect, that I wouldn’t normally have thought of, which I thought was good.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, and I also, finally think that managing expectations is important when you’re volunteering. I think…. I certainly made this mistake at the start of my career. I thought if I worked on a political campaign it would lead to an office or a job with the elected official. And that’s not how it works; it’s volunteering, if you’re doing it… if you are looking for the benefits to your career, or in your job search. It’s a way, again, of making connections, and networking, like Ben talked about. Building the skills that you just mentioned Jessica. And also, a chance to be creative, and try new roles and put on new hats.

Well great. Well thank you both, and thank you, Mark, for joining us this week, and thank you our listeners for downloading today’s episode of Find Your Dream Job. If you like what you hear, please sign up for our free weekly newsletter.

In every issue we give you the key points of that week’s show, we also include links to all the resources mentioned, and you get a transcript of the full episode. If you subscribe for the newsletter now, we’ll send you our job seeker checklist. In one easy to use file, we show you all the steps you need to take to find a great job. Get your free newsletter and checklist today. Go to https://www.macslist.org/podcast/. And join us next Wednesday when our special guest will be Liz Ryan. She’ll tell us how to break the rules to get the job you deserve. Until next time, thanks for letting us help you find your dream job.

Volunteer experiences are an important component to any job search. There are myriad benefits of volunteering for job seekers.

This week’s guest, Mark Anthony Dyson, is a huge proponent of volunteering as part of your job hunt. While most volunteer gigs won’t lead to a formal job offer, Mark argues that giving your time and energy as a volunteer helps you stand out from the crowded field of job seekers.

Here some of the many benefits of volunteering:

  • It’s a great way to network within an industry or an organization you want to work for.
  • It shows value-alignment between you, your peers, and target organizations.
  • It allows you to showcase your professional skills or learn new skills
  • It give you a chance to help others, who may, in turn, be able to help you
  • It can fill in employment gaps in your resume.
  • It can make you feel better about yourself and your job search.

This Week’s Guest

Mark Anthony Dyson is a career consultant who helps unemployed, underemployed, and under-appreciated job seekers. Mark’s advice has appeared in U.S. News & World Report, Monster, Fox Business and TIME magazine. He’s also the founder of the award-winning career blog and podcast, The Voice of Job Seekers.

Resources from this Episode