Benefits of Volunteer Work


Photo Credit: A.S. Zain /

Whether you’re interested in giving back, gaining work experience or filling work gaps, volunteer work has many benefits. For starters, as a volunteer worker, you can gain valuable work experience that can help you begin building a resume.  For students, volunteering full-time during the summer months or on weekends during the regular semester will impress future employers and help you stand out from the crowd. For non-students, volunteering anytime will strengthen your resume and help you obtain skills that can lead to advancement opportunities.

Next, volunteering can actually help you find potential employers. When you volunteer, you’re always meeting new people. These people may give you job leads. By volunteering for programs related to your career field, you are also more likely to meet important contacts or other professionals with the same interests.

Volunteer work can help you gain valuable skills. For example, if you’re working for a non-profit, you might learn all about fundraising and develop skills related to working with groups. You might handle donations, help manage projects, and organize events. An organized candidate with management skills and the ability to work with large groups is a great asset to hiring companies.

While working with non-profits can help you gain valuable experience and skills, other fields can do the same. Other fields that may be open to volunteer workers are:

  • -Education
  • -Disaster Relief
  • -Community Development
  • -Research
  • -Medical/Health
  • -Construction
  • -Administration
  • -Land Conservation
  • -Parks & Recreation

To apply for a volunteer position at any given company, all you have to do is contact the company’s human resources department by email or phone and inquire about volunteer opportunities. Most companies have volunteer, internship or other similar programs. If they don’t, they will likely be open to the idea. The human resources department will tell you how to apply if opportunities are available or if they would be willing to consider it. If opportunities are seasonal, the department will give you information about the best times to apply. You will have the option to apply online or via snail mail.

You can also search for volunteer opportunities by visiting any of the following websites:

Good Luck! 


Benefits of Hiring a Career Coach

Plan Into Action

A career coach provides expert advice, support, and guidance to individuals seeking a career in any given field. A professional career coach may provide guidance and support to individuals that are just entering the workforce or those seeking a career change. Career coaches are objective listeners that have the ability to assess where clients are now and how clients can get where they want to be. To accomplish this, a career coach will developing a plan, goals, and action steps customized to each individual.

Top career coaches typically have an advanced degree, more than 10 years of experience in the areas of business, teaching, or other leadership roles, and a proven record of accomplishment in their respective career fields.

During a typical session, a career coach will:

  • -Cover resume and cover letter writing
  • -Go over interview preparation and execution
  • -Teach you how to write interview follow-up letters with impact
  • -Assess your skills, experience and interests
  • -Cover common mistakes you might be making
  • -Discuss strategies for strengthening your job search activities
  • -Discuss proactive tactics for developing meaningful job leads
  • -Discuss strategies for starting and/or growing a valuable network
  • -Develop tactics for maximizing your network of professional contacts
  • -Teach you how to stay memorable throughout the interview process
  • -Cover solutions for perfecting follow-up interviews
  • -Teach you how to negotiate salary and benefits
  • -Help you build and maintain confidence as a jobseeker
  • -Teach you how to stay memorable throughout the interview process
  • -Cover solutions for perfecting follow-up interviews
  • -Teach you how to negotiate salary and benefits

After all of these areas have been covered, you can expect overall improvement of your quality of life, clarity of career and job search goals, enhanced self-awareness and direction, and better career management skills.

Hiring a career coach can be expensive, but if you hire the right career coach, their services will prove invaluable. Career coaching services can range from $125 to $500 per hour or from $375 to $3,000 per package. If you’re still on the fence about hiring a career coach, you can decide whether or not you need one by considering the following:

  • -You need help crafting a resume or cover letter
  • -You’re bored or frustrated with your job, but have no idea what other work you may be qualified to do
  • -You’re sending out resumes, but the phone just won’t ring
  • -You need someone to answer to keep you on track
  • -Your career is at a standstill
  • -You need help with setting yourself apart from other job seekers
  • -You’re open to new ideas and open to hearing some harsh truths about yourself
  • -You want to move to the next step in your career and become successful

Career Coach

How to Find a Top Career Coach

One of the safest ways to find a top career coach is by referral. You should ask friends and people in your network for names and contact information. Rarely will the people in your network or friends steer you in the wrong direction. Check professional organizations for career coaches such as Career Coach Academy, Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches, and Career Directors International. If you can’t find any referrals and you decide to search online, just make sure you search for coaches with verifiable certifications, credentials, and references.

You should also make sure the career coach:

  • -Has been in business for more than two years
  • -That he or she is current on career issues
  • -Specializes in job search services
  • -Is someone that understands personal branding

Remember, you can learn all you need to know about your career coach during an initial consultation. And yes, the best career coaches will be more than happy to schedule a free consultation.


Are Work Relationships Really That Important?


Just when you thought the workplace was supposed to be for, well—work, someone comes along and says otherwise. Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D. and author of Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office 101: Unconscious Decisions Women Make That Sabotage Their Career, claims that workers need to build relationships on the job in order to advance their careers. She also mentions that it only takes 5% of your day, which is around 20 minutes or so a day, to build strong 360-degree relationships. How? Frankel provides the following tips on how to work on relationship building without neglecting your responsibilities at work:

-Take a moment to compliment someone on a particular accomplishment.
-During a business phone call.
-On the way to or from the parking lot.
-Over lunch (even if it’s lunch at your desk).
-Before, during or after a meeting.
-In a brief doorway conversation.
-After work at professional association meetings.

If you’re confused about how this can help advance your career in today’s shaky workplace, it’s probably a good idea to pick up a copy of Frankel’s book. Let us know what you think.


Ride the Retail Wave While you Wait for Dream Job


Ok, so a retail job isn’t what you had in mind after graduating with a degree in accounting, but you have to make ends meet while you wait for Deloitte & Touche to call. Fortunately, according to, you won’t have to look for a temporary job for too long if you look to the retail Industry. Right now, retailers are in search of 400,000 employees to fill both full and part-time positions. These retail positions just are not just available at clothing stores. Retail is a broad term that covers the selling of just about any type of good or commodity. This means, retail job seekers will find positions in places ranging from Macy’s to Whole Foods to wax museums to automobile dealerships. 

If you’re interested in a long-term retail career, you’re in luck because this trend is expected to continue. Retail careers are among the top thirty occupations with the largest employment growth for 2008-18. The following are projection figures (in thousands):

Employment 2008: 4,489
Employment 2018: 4,864
Change: 8.4%

Regarding salary, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that:

Median hourly wages of wage-and-salary retail salespersons, including commissions, were $9.86 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.26 and $13.35 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.37, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $19.14 an hour. Many beginning or inexperienced workers earn the Federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, but many States set minimum wages higher than the Federal minimum. In areas where employers have difficulty attracting and retaining workers, wages tend to be higher than the legislated minimum.

Compensation systems can vary by type of establishment and merchandise sold. Salespersons receive hourly wages, commissions, or a combination of the two. Under a commission system, salespersons receive a percentage of the sales they make. This system offers sales workers the opportunity to increase their earnings considerably, but they may find that their earnings depend strongly on their ability to sell their product and on the ups and downs of the economy.

Benefits may be limited in smaller stores, but benefits in large establishments usually are considerable. In addition, nearly all salespersons are able to buy their store’s merchandise at a discount, with the savings depending on the type of merchandise. Also, to bolster revenue, employers may use incentive programs such as awards, bonuses, and profit-sharing plans to the sales staff.

To break into the retail industry, experience helps, but most employers are willing to train the right person on-the-job. To begin your job search, visit


Are you allowed to sleep on the job?

woman napping at work

It seems like a silly question, but you might be surprised by the answer.

Naturally, in many workplaces, sleeping on the job is a serious no-no. But, a growing number of companies are actually encouraging employees to nap at work. The issue is productivity. Rest is very important, and for many employees, a productivity nap can work wonders.

From Thomas Edison and Winston Churchill to Bill Clinton and George Costanza, the nap has had many famous champions. And with good reason. Ever since sleep scientist David Dinges helped found the modern science of napping in the early ’80s at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, short periods of sleep have been shown to improve alertness, memory, motor skills, decision-making, and mood. All while cutting down on stress, carelessness, and even heart disease.

With Americans averaging fewer than seven hours of sleep per night—and around 20 percent suffering from sleepiness during the day, according to a recent Stanford University study—many companies have turned to the humble nap in an attempt to stave off billions in lost productivity each year. Following the rise of workplace perks like lactation rooms, gyms, and child-care facilities, Nike (NKE) workers now have access to nap-friendly “quiet rooms” that can also be used for meditation. Google (GOOG), a forerunner in employee perks, has a number of futuristic napping pods scattered throughout its Mountain View (Calif.) campus.

It’s even becoming a business in itself, as some establishments are offering napping spas that people can visit during the day. One company called MetroNaps offers a contraption called The EnergyPod, which we have to admit looks cool as hell! The key is to find a way to help employees get adequate sleep.

Check out the rest of the article for some napping tips as well. Yes – there are actually helpful tips on how to take a nap! Isn’t the Internet great?


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