Volunteer this summer to build experience

Teens with visions of flipping burgers or lifeguarding this summer may be left with no job and an empty wallet, if economists’ predictions for the teen job market are accurate. A record low one-in-four U.S. teenagers who are looking for a summer job are expected to be hired, according to a study by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston.

The good news is that volunteering in the summer can have even longer lasting benefits than a minimum-wage job. Working without pay may not be as attractive to a high school student, but with the promises of resume-building and potential future scholarship opportunities, it may have more long-term pay-off after all.

Committing to volunteering can help you:

  • Gain leadership skills and learn to take initiative on issues you’re passionate about.
  • Learn how to interact with others and find things you have in common with people from all walks of life.
  • Build teamwork skills serving on a group project like those YVC organizes.
  • Gain applicable job experience serving at a variety of nonprofits. Try out what it would be like to be a veterinarian by volunteering at an animal shelter. Perfect your writing and communicating skills by helping with marketing tasks at a nonprofit.
  • Strengthen your college application by showing you were committed to a long-term project. A study by dosomething.org surveyed 33 colleges and universities and found that commitment to a volunteer project was more powerful on a college application than a short-term service trip abroad.
  • Try out potential careers by volunteering at a variety of nonprofits.
  • Have a lot of fun and meet new people on your projects!

If you find the job search even more difficult than you anticipated, don’t hesitate to try volunteering instead. Go to www.yvc.org to find a YVC affiliate near you to get started on a summer volunteer program.