Everyone knows that unemployment gets worse every year. The Covid-19 factor has exponentially increased the figure. You have probably attended several job interviews, and you may have submitted enough application letters to fill an entire library. You have perhaps concluded that those organisations have preselected their candidate, and recruitment exercises are only a charade. You may also believe that one can only get a good job through “connection”. While you may not be wrong, it is not the entire picture. Put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter who evaluates 5,000 applications for only five vacancies! Even if you are the most objective person on the planet, wouldn’t you need to device a way to narrow down your choice to a manageable figure?
I have interacted with several employers and found that one of the most effective ways to stand out in a job hunt is to volunteer. When you give your services for free to an organisation, you:
- Seek to give rather than take: while others are looking for paid employment, you offer the organisation your services for free. This is an attitude that is different from the norm, so you are likely to be given the opportunity. When you apply, the company is likely to stress that it wasn’t recruiting and would not be able to pay now or in the future. If you accept the condition, then you have a placement.
- Get an opportunity: your choice of a company should be based on your long-term goals and the industry in which you want to build your career. First, your period of volunteering will satisfy the “on-the-job” experience requirement for any organisation you apply to in the future. Second, the name of the organisation on your resume will prove invaluable.
- Get experience: if you are diligent, committed and resourceful enough, you may find that a lot of responsibilities would be pushed to you. There is a tendency for you to become upset and feel “used”, but instead, learn as much as you can because it will make you an asset in any organisation where you are eventually employed.
- Become an insider: while you shouldn’t always expect that you will be retained as a regular staff, you will still stand a better chance if there is an opening. Who do you think the company will prefer, the person who has been an asset for free or an “unknown” person? Instead of sorting through 5,000 applications that the recruiters can’t be too sure of their suitability, they may find themselves selecting the person the company has “invested” in through internship to carry on the job.