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Pomp, Circumstance and Unemployment

Graduation season is here! But what can new college grads do to help ease the pain of a tough job market and boost their resume at the same time? Volunteer!

On the way to meet some girlfriends last night in Fairfield I passed a caravan of Fairfield University students heading to Senior Week activities before Commencement this weekend. I remembered fondly that week at my alma mater and at dinner we all wistfully reminisced about our college years and the freedom of those carefree days as coeds.  

Turns out we were all lucky enough to have jobs lined up when we graduated. Most of us took the summer off to relax but then headed into the workforce in the fall. Unfortunately, that isn’t necessarily going to be the case for many of this year’s college grads. 2012 grads face a far more uncertain job market than we did not even ten years ago.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think-tank, unemployment for those under 25 stood at 18 percent in Connecticut in 2011. Just 10 years earlier in 2000 that rate was about 5.6 percent. There are a number of reasons for this change which are analyzed at length in the EPI report

It’s not all doom and gloom, however. There are some definite signs of modest growth for this demographic and the market is not as bleak as it has been in recent years. Yet the reality remains that unemployment numbers here in Connecticut remain relatively elevated

Build up your resume with volunteering

So, what to do about it? Why not get involved with volunteering? We are obviously big fans of volunteering for many, many reasons but you don’t have to just take our word for it. There is plenty to back us up. 

First and foremost, you can help your community nonprofits—a sector of the economy that has been hit hard both nationwide and right here in Fairfield County. Despite Fairfield County’s reputation as being a perpetual land of plenty, there is a tremendous amount of need right here in our own backyards

What’s more, major employment resources like Monster.com extol the virtues of volunteering for building your resume. Professional networking site LinkedIn considers that type of experience so important that they recently added a space on your profile to include your volunteer experiences.

And if this isn’t enough to convince you, Dr. Oz, and countless others, even say it’s good for your health

We have been hosting free town meetings around Fairfield County over the past month or so introducing folks to VolunteerSquare.com and showing them how the free site can make volunteering a bit easier and a bit more relevant. We have two meetings coming up next week – one in and one in . We hope to see you there. Be sure to stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter pages for more on upcoming town meetings as well as other news and updates.

If town meetings aren’t your thing, visit us anytime at www.volunteersquare.com to check out some local volunteer opportunities. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

BCT May 18, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Building a resume through volunteering sounds great but the jobs most of these non-profits need done our things like stocking food pantries, driving and helping with the elderly. Only rarely does there seem to be a need for computer skills, public relations marketing or finance. People can start out as volunteers and work their way into those non-profits as paid employees but that's financially limited (not going to pay off student debt) and you can do free work for profit businesses that will eventually pay more. As Fairfield Resident pointed out, learning how to run your own small business in really valuable now as more people can no longer count on getting and keeping a good job working for someone else. If new graduates are going to volunteer, they should do it in places or build skills that will lead to good paying jobs - build a website for a non-profit or do fund raising and accounting. Stocking cans, sorting clothes or helping with elder services, while enriching, is not going to build most resumes.
Thalia Thompson, M.S., I.E.C. May 18, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Volunteering is great in general, but particularly important for young, recent grads as they begin to make connections, build their resumes, and pay their dues. Sure, there might be some pantry-stocking, errand-running, etc. as BCT suggested, but nothing precludes individuals from initiating the use of skills such as marketing, public relations, etc. A not-for-profit might very well appreciate a volunteer's offer to create/enhance a website or to conduct market research even though he/she may have originally signed up for driving duties. Often, a job is what YOU make of it and what YOU bring to the table.
Fairfield Resident May 20, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Exactly!
jorge May 20, 2012 at 02:23 AM
stop trolling for customers you hack. I,500 bucks for six hours with you. Yeah and I've got some swamp land in Jersey you might be interested in.
jorge May 20, 2012 at 02:24 AM
the password is... Desperation. and put a shirt on, no one wants to think about you sans shirt, those days are long gone.

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