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Virtual Job Club Day 12: How Are You Helping Others?

I know, I know…you’re the one who needs the help, so who has time to devote to others? I get it. I also know that assisting others serves two huge purposes, both of which can be positively self-serving.

First, when you give your time and talent to someone else, you often discover something new about yourself. Or you reinforce something you sorta knew was there, but now are sure of it.

Second, helping others takes the focus off you and your challenges while allowing you to tap your incredible brainpower. It lifts your spirits when you’re down. And that feel-good boost can rub off in improved self-esteem and confidence — the kind that are needed to weather tough times.

So two things:

1) Troll through the blog posts from Days 1 – 11 and post responses to the questions, comments and concerns of others. You may be going through a similar challenge — and while you don’t have answers for yourself, I bet you have smart ideas for other women.

2) Tell us here about your volunteer initiatives — the stuff you wish an employer would stand up and take note of right now.

Press play below to hear Dani Ticktin Koplik talk about The New Business Landscape: The Current Reality that Impacts YOUR Search. She’s incredibly smart and insightful, so you’re sure to benefit from listening — and then acting on her advice. This 20 minute call is available for you to listen to anytime.



  1. I.M.

    My volunteer work has consisted in helping one of my church’s outreach programs with all of the paperwork – from creating forms, invitations, writing to newspapers to submit articles I’ve written about this program and updating the policies and procedures to taking pictures of some of the events. This is a new skill that I am liking and my pictures have turned out quite nicely and might be published along with my articles.

  2. MR

    I have put in countless hours volunteering for the high school’s instrumental music program’s biggest event. I organize our students’ end of year concert in the park. It is hosted by the City but we are in charge of advertising, marketing, fundraising for the event, selling food and raffle prizes at the event, children’s games at the event, etc. We have done it 4 years in a row and drawn 1000 people for the last 2 years. I have learned so much about each of those activities, besides how to organize volunteers, motivate volunteers, and manage them.

  3. Clair

    I.M., Have you looked into reporting for your local Patch?
    Most major cities have this online news site, and they often are looking for feature writers and photographers that have a strong community connection. Your posting makes me think this might be an interesting area to look at for you. Here is the website:

  4. Gwen

    All of my spare time is spent with my mother, who has early Alheimizers. So, I have no time to volunteer.

  5. Susan Kaye

    I have many volunteer experience on my resume. I have been doing this event since i984 the name has changed i am an official in field competition for children and young adults who are physically challenged. I have watch many of the children grow up and many of the are over the age limit.

    Fast 6 years I have been volunteer in a nursing home/rehabilitation in therapeutic recreation department. I have gave many ideas for project that have been used. Also have been there on many holidays such a 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and have helped out at other events tomorrow I will the there at a white elephant sale.

    I have done fundraising for breast cancer. I did some of the 3 day walks 2 times and raised over $5500.This has taught me what some one who goes into politics I know how hard it can be to raise money.

    Also I have some friends that are working at long term temp jobs that will be ending soon. Many of them do not know the way to use search engines the I do. I send them job leads.

    Something very strange most of the time I put some thing on Facebook and many people love what I say. Maybe I should do a part-time blog. I have something on the Woman For Hire on LinkedIn about a resume this is still people are sending comments. This has taught me some times say what is on your mind.

    Facebook I have found is one of the best way to get a message across. I have voiced many things to political people and do get answer that way. I have learned to be gusty.

  6. RK

    Gwen, You are volunteering the time with your mother, no??? Your time with your mother is well spend and precious. Be sure to take time to nurture yourself (read a good book, take a bubble bath by candlelight with a glass of wine, etc.). I find that as caregivers we sometimes exhaust ourselves with little effort being spent on self.

  7. RK

    I used to spend more time volunteering than I do now. I do some volunteer work at my church. I find, though, that the longer I am on unemployment the lazier, more bored, and uninspired I am becoming. It’s also somewhat depressing. I don’t think, at least for me, that getting out more and volunteering is the answer. It is more a matter of discipling myself to trying to promote a very fledgling business while sending out resumes on a daily basis. Not good.

  8. mj

    I found a conection in LinkedIn who es working at a place I would like to volunteer. I am cheking to see in wich area i would like to volunteer the most; they have so many posibilities.

  9. JKP

    I have been a very active den leader for 3 years. I’ve developed and lead great programs for my den and pack, organized pack-wide events and have recently taken on the additional responsibility of producing the monthly pack newsletter. I’ve taken advantage of the many training opportunities that BSA offers online, in person and at round table meetings, geared toward leadership and organization. Scouting gives me: time with my son, a good feeling working with the boys, and a peer group, not to mention a way to give back to my community. The adults I’ve met in scouting are definitely a network of highly motivated leaders, who know that kindness and cooperation are the keys to success. Above all, I’d love to be able to include in my resume the leadership, teaching, presentation, motivational and organizational skills I’ve developed by being involved with scouting, as well as the HR and managerial skills I’ve really had to hone when working with the parents.

  10. Clair

    I would love feedback from this group on my branding statement.
    My most recent experience, I was a Regional Sales Manager and have been in the consumer packaged goods industry. In-line with Tory’s assignment today, I’d love feedback on my branding statement and what it communicates or fails to convey?
    Thanks VJC members! Here it is:
    “Award-Winning Enterprising Business Development Leader who helps companies create profitable markets for their products and services.”

  11. SRC

    I am using my time, when not working as a temp, in school, and starting two small businesses part time, to establish a program for my sister’s childcare business. I have to admit Tory is correct, when you begin to volunteer your time to others, it is inspiring!

    It is also showing me my strengths and the business mind that I have; it has encouraged and inspired me to remain “relevant” and necessary, because I DO have alot to offer. Volunteering to assist my sister’s business has given me hope and faith in myself again, renewed the tarnished confidence I had after my lay off as well.

    I watched a movie called “How Do You Know” the other day and Paul Rudd’s character made a profound statement, one that I wrote down and carry with me, I will share…”We are all one small adjustment away from making our lives work.” That is so true.

    How do we know what life has in store for us each day? We don’t, but we can know this…we are each destined for greatness, and only need to show up! In showing up, there lies the adjustments, sometimes small, sometimes large…that make our lives work! Good luck!

  12. CR

    I just compled a year of AmeriCorps and worked at a worksource office where county and state employees help others find jobs.

  13. je

    Right now, my volunteer projects are limited to helping my daughter with her college courses and serving as an elder & finance team member at my church. I wanted very much to volunteer to teach people to read. I love to read and apparently am able to teach various things to other people. However, I was told there’s no illiteracy problem in my locale & they wouldn’t train me to go beyond 10 miles from my home. I’d also like to again volunteer at the one agency’s homework club but was told if I can’t commit to the full school year, they’d rather not have me. Do any of you have any suggestions?

  14. KE

    I enjoy volunteering in cultural festivals every year but the only problem is that those festivals occur every now and then. I haven’t done any volunteer work that requires me to dedicate some of my time every week. Right now I’m trying to look for something that can keep me busy and help others too.

  15. Susan Kaye

    I have all the day job club tips for the day and all the comments that every one has done printed out every day. And have a binder all the information is in that. I have learned a lot from the comment section on this page and Facebook page too.

  16. JW

    I volunteer with New York Cares, mostly on projects for children. I have also looked into volunteering in my industry, meeting and event planning. In fact, I have a volunteer project this evening assisting with the invitation mailing for a benefit dinner. The vounteer projects build on my organizational and customer service skills.

    I want to say thank you to SRC for the movie quote. I have not seen the film, but I love that quote. We all just need that one change, and it usually starts with our mindset, to be the person we want to be!

  17. REK

    I volunteer doing food prep at my church’s soup kitchen. Even though this is not a field I would pursue professionally, I find this serves several purposes. First, I get that “feel good” boost that always seems to come from volunteering for a worthy cause. Second, I get to work with some really awesome elderly ladies I would probably not otherwise get to know. Finally, seeing the clients of the soup kitchen reminds me to give thanks for my many blessings and makes me realize that, however challenging my current situation is, there are many who are worse off than I am.

  18. Barbara Cann

    To be honest, I don’t volunteer in any community activities at the moment, primarily because I don’t have the money to spend on extra transportation beyond the necessities. That’s the simple reality of it. Also, I’m a bit disabled so walking distances and on and off buses is not in the picture.

    That being said however, there is a dear friend — someone who has a fear and disdain of computers (I don’t judge her reality, she simply hates anything to do with them) I am helping to bridge the gap between the crash course she took through the state unemployment education program and the realities of actually using this technological monster. I’ve helped her write and format her resume, found her job sites to search, and been on call any hour of the day or night to walk her through any issue she’s having relating to using the pc and all the information available through it.

    And you know what? I’m volunteering time to myself and an entrepreneurial project I’ve been developing the last several months, something that would have a real impact on the community.

    So I figure these have as much value as traditional volunteering does.

  19. Barbara Cann

    Oh! And I forgot to mention that I have previousl commented on posts here as I’ve read others’ comments from the daily exercises when I think I have something relevant to share — with the idea in mind that there are probably many others like myself who go back and review for new entries just to see the thoughts and issues from the rest of our “community.”

  20. Barbara Cann

    One additional comment to Tory and her team — it would be very helpful if there was a way to know replies here on your site could get to the original posters. I do NOT reply to the Facebook comments simply for the privacy issue. FAR too much personal info gets splashed about the ‘net and I don’t think I have the right to expose any more details to the public at large.

    So, would it be possible for you to set up a way for us here to get our direct replies to each other? I mean, even if it’s not directly to each other, but buffered through your site (rather like CraigsList handles their blind email addies).

    Thank you for considering!

  21. Barbara Cann

    To Gwen —

    I empathize — I understand what you’re going through. When my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I moved back to her town and found a larger apartment so we could live together and I could care for her.

    I am so glad and thankful I had had the great joy of getting to know this lovely woman when *I* was an adult, so I could truly appreciate just who she was, and become her friend. It helped so much during the difficult moments of those last two years.

    But as frustrating (and sometimes scary, like the time I came home to a pot of burning peas on the stove) as it could be I also learned invaluable lessons in understanding dignity, patience and compassion for someone else.

    I hope you will be as blessed. My thoughts go out to you and I wish you and your mother the very best.

  22. Barbara Cann

    And my friends, this link from LinkedIn will hopefully give you a chuckle on one enterprising man’s way of making some money — I know it made ME smile ;o}

  23. Victoria

    I am volunteering as a visiting friend on behalf of the Carter Burden Center for the Elderly on the Upper East SIde of Manhattan.

    I have been visiting elderly neighbors on/off for the past decade.

    The elderly are a wonderful group and deserve love, respect and lots of good attention!

  24. Maureen Reintjes

    Oh boy I wish I had known you were going to ask us to troll back over and lend advise. It has been very hard for me to contain myself and not comment. I facilitated job clubs since the 90’s and currently run a large online job club so handing out advise is something I do just out of habit. But because my biggest problem in my search is time I’m not going to be able to do this….and that kills me!

    You asked about our volunteer initiatives and I have discussed that on some of the past days’ comments so this will be pretty much a repeat. I had tried for a long time to keep my career in Communications separate from my two volunteer passions: advocating for the families of the missing and working with job seekers. All of these areas continually collide so I gave up keeping them separated. I want an employer to have a holistic view of me. I would like a potential employer see that all that I do which includes all my leadership skills, all my communication skills, all my technical skills, all my PR skills, all my social administration skills, and all the advocacy I do to improve other’s lives is what will show up every day for them and exceed their expectations.

  25. DWS

    My volunteer work have been with my church’s ministry for the homeless & hungry. My eyes have been opened, and I can see what kind of problems others have when they don’t have food or shelter. This makes my lack of a job, look much less severe. Everyone should volunteer, both when they are working and when they are not.

  26. JF

    I have facilitated landing an intern for an organization that while I believe in it, I am a little leery of their leadership – bad on me….I continue to volunteer for my golfer group and will be stepping up to be VP this fall. I have also been sharing my experiences and passing names on of those I know who are also looking for work…

  27. LS

    Today’s speaker was the MOST inspiring yet!! I knew that the workplace structure had changed but did not know exactly how. It all makes sense and I’ve witnessed it in my current experience in a freelance temp project that I am working on. But I am not sure where that leaves me because if the current economy seeks fresh, innovative thinkers who will have the ability to jump in and demonstrate their worth, be creative, etc. I feel like I’m being left by the side of the road. As I have said before, I don’t want to move the planets and create a new solar system, I just want a job that I can show up to every day and do good work but alas, those times are behind us and that is not a goal with a happy ending in this job market!!

  28. Mary

    4.Gwen says:
    All of my spare time is spent with my mother, who has early Alheimizers. So, I have no time to volunteer.

    Gwen, this is a HUGH volunteer commitment on your part, and I think employers would appreciate the sensitivity and dedication on your part to be able to provide your mother with assistance. It speaks highly of your character, and I’m sure God will bless you for doing it.

    10.Clair says:
    I would love feedback from this group on my branding statement… I’d love feedback on my branding statement and what it communicates or fails to convey?
    Thanks VJC members! Here it is:
    “Award-Winning Enterprising Business Development Leader who helps companies create profitable markets for their products and services.”

    Clair, when I read the statement without your explanation of your prior job history it seems to suggest an Accounting or Finance emphasis and downplays the Sales/Marketing aspect. A lot of the seminars in my area titled Business Development seem to focus on organizing a small business rather than developing a market, so perhaps if you used capital letters on the Markets, Products, Services, it would help? says:
    I wanted very much to volunteer to teach people to read.

    Have you tried volunteering directly at your library or community college? Where I live they are always looking for folks to help even for a few hours. Also, if you contact the teacher at the college for ESL they might invite you to come sporadically to their classes to do one on ones with the student. Another possibility is an overnight homeless shelter if you have one, as their population is transient and sometimes children need tutors there for a short time.

    I’d also like to again volunteer at the one agency’s homework club but was told if I can’t commit to the full school year, they’d rather not have me. Do any of you have any suggestions?

    Homeless shelter, teen parent homes that social service agencies run, ethnic churches with immigrant populations all want short term volunteers where I live.

    My own volunteer work includes: 1)Treasurer and Bookkeeper for a Serbian chorale group, also heavy involvement in organizing a historic conference with 50 choirs from US, Canada and Serbia, working at several fundraisers in various capacities, and editing a 100 year anniversary booklet. Edited a Master’s Thesis for a Serbian born student. 2) Teach Art weekly at a drop-in center for teens at risk of heroin addiction, and recently assisted the Director of center in a massive renovation and reorganization project. 3) Crisis hotline counselor at pregnancy resource center one day per week. 4) Produce weekly employment ministry newsletter with circulation list of 900+, write articles and research websites of resources to include in newsletter (yes I put the Women for Hire conference coming soon), facilitate small group discussions twice a month at meetings, assist jobseekers who have been the victim of identity theft or need records expunged.

  29. I.M.

    Clair: I’ve looked at the Patch website but there is no chapter in my state … Thanks for the encouragement!

  30. Alison

    I miss volunteering at a local church. I used to help make pierogies on Fridays, but my work has prohibited from me going. I miss the interactions. It was a good perspective for me on life because I was so significantly younger than all the people there. I learned a lot from their perspectives and life experiences. I also got to reap in the rewards of the finished product 🙂

  31. TA

    Is it me, or do it seem like we’re only writing like we in college, I don’t know about you all, I don’t see how this is helping me find a job.

  32. Clair

    Mary, thank you so much for the tip on my branding statement. That is right on great advice! Gosh, feedback is so important to this group’s success and I hope we can share more of it with each other!

  33. Linda

    Having gone back to college, at age 59, for the last three years has made the jump to the new business landscape less of a leap of faith and more like I could see the technology coming. The recession just seemed to accelerate the process.

    All the information this class is providing is highly insightful and useful in understanding the current job market and what it now takes to acquire a job.

    My current problem is not about my ability to volunteer. I’m currently driving a mentally challenged person to town to do her shopping and laundry.

    I can easily give away my skills (BA Speech Communications + AAS in Legal Assisting)but after being unemployed for three years I don’t have the money (gas $) to continue.

    I completed my internship in June but was not hired because of the economic downturn. Now I’m months behind in my rent. I may not be able to survive till the job that I want calls me for an interview. I know the reality of today’s job search and that it will take months to find that new job. Yet each month the rent that I have not paid increases.

  34. MJD

    I love volunteering. Volunteering is what I have been doing since I was let go from my pervious position. It is the way I keep positive during my job search and it is a great way to network and help people at the same time. I am volunteering in my church’s outreach office and in their newcomers area. I look forward to volunteering everyday.

  35. PAL

    My recent volunteer activity was to help a campus group up date their information to renew their presence on campus. Their student organization charter had expired. Everything is done online. I was able to go in and request a renewal that will allow the group to remain on campus.

  36. Debbie G.

    My volunteer activities include being a Board member for a local home based business women’s networking organization ( that provides support and education to women who run a home based business or are thinking about starting one. I also have a growing network of women business owners that I frequently offer business strategy and advice to. The rest of my time now is focused on job hunting, continuing to stay current with Internet marketing technologies and the changing face of small business, writing my first novel and working on my first information product. My career (specifically, my job hunt) is my first priority now.

    This was a wonderfully enlightening call. I had seen some research that showed that degrees in more creative fields were going to mean more to employers going forward and that even in a managerial role, creativity was going to be more important than specific knowledge. This call reinforced that and actually brought the ideas down to a more practical level. Thank-you!

  37. BJ

    I did start a volunteer initiative with a local non-profit organization. EWW-Every woman works, has need of volunteer help and I was able to walk in and begin helping with sorting and folders.
    I wish that employers would stand up for the rudimentary values that stand up for the value of life. Politics and religion are supposedly to be kept separate, but it isn’t and never will be. Honor thy neighbor, treat others the way you want to be treated, the fruit of the spirit, love thy neighbor. You know where I am going with this and if you are not a “Christian”, Muslim, Buddhist, there is something inside your heart that leads you in right and wrong. Again companies are the people that makes it up.

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