One of the biggest steps we must take when starting over somewhere new is to GET INVOLVED in the community. The sooner you get plugged in, the sooner you will meet friends, find your place, get comfortable and feel at home…which is the goal.
Volunteering is a great way to learn about your community, start building your social network, get plugged in and also give back to the community.
Those above reasons are EXTREMELY relevant if you are looking for employment opportunities. Not only does volunteer work look nice on a resume, but it can open doors faster than cold calling potential employers.
When volunteering, it is best to be strategic about where and when you volunteer. Afterall, this does not need to feel like a job or obligation you are dragging your feet to.
· Interests - Align your interests with where you volunteer. Love animals, volunteer with animals. Love kids, find an opportunity with kids. Love clerical tasks, find a volunteer opportunity to do clerical work. Love planning events, volunteer for an upcoming event, or on an events committee.
· Time - Your time is valuable so make sure you do not overcommit yourself. At the same time, do make sure you schedule some time in each week or month to volunteer. These connections are valuable and you never know what could come of them. Regular and intentional social interaction should be a top 5 priority that you dedicate time to at least each month.
· Getting stuck – Ideally, you want to try out a volunteer opportunity a few times before committing for a more regular role at the organization. The last thing you want is to feel “stuck” and unhappy about your volunteer work. You may need to try different volunteer roles within the organization, but sometimes you do have to part ways and find another organization to volunteer with that may be a better fit or you. That is OK. The goal is for the volunteer relationship to be enjoyable and beneficial for both you and that organization.
· Make the most of it – Ask questions. Introduce yourself to others. Tell your story. It might take you out of your comfort zone a little bit, but this is a great opportunity for you to make the most of!
**AS EMPLOYERS: Share some ideas for that new employee and their family to volunteer with and get plugged in. This is one more way to show you care about them and their move being a success!
**Utilize your local 211 helpline center to find volunteer opportunities in your community! https://www.211.org/about-us/your-local-211