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Unemployment rates in Lancaster County have skyrocketed to numbers that haven’t been seen since the Great Recession.

As our community begins to open back up, thousands of job seekers will be searching for employment. Here is a valuable piece of advice: Make sure volunteer experience is part of your resume.

Volunteering is a very rewarding experience and is a great way to generate positive impact in our area, help others in need and improve overall happiness.

However, many don’t realize that volunteering can also be the key to landing your next job.

Volunteer experience strengthens your resume and provides an extra boost that other candidates may not have.

Experience is vital in today’s job market, and volunteering could be a path toward gaining the experience you need.

Having numerous volunteer projects on your resume will show potential employers your initiative, willingness to try new things, community involvement and dedication.

If you are a recent college graduate who doesn’t have much work experience, highlighting your volunteer experience in a skills-oriented way is a great approach to take.

Plus, there’s a breadth of volunteering possibilities. At any given time, you may find a chance to engage in fundraising, health care, marketing, child care, administrative work and much more.

Another great outcome of volunteering is expanding your contact network. Volunteering puts you in position to meet potential mentors and learn about job opportunities in your desired field.

Whether it’s working side by side with employers at our annual Day of Caring or meeting experienced professionals at a nonprofit organization, don’t miss out on a great chance to network and grow professionally while doing good work for your neighbors in Lancaster County.

So, what are you waiting for? Expand your resume and skills by searching for volunteer opportunities at LiveUnitedLancaster.org.

Current opportunities

Here are some current chances to get involved in the community that could also be a great connection:

Compeer Lancaster/CompeerCORPS is for you. Do you want your volunteer time to be meaningful and rewarding? We invite you to become a Compeer volunteer. You will spend four hours a month developing a friendship with an adult recovering from mental illness or make a weekly telephone call to an adult waiting for a volunteer friend.

A one-year commitment is requested, and a criminal background check is required.

To schedule your immediate orientation and training, call Joe Mills at 717-397-7461 or email [email protected].

Steps to Success offers families supplemental care and early learning for their children. They are currently seeking additional board members.

In addition to the needs posted, at-large membership is also needed. For quickest response time, please email Michelle Harbaugh at [email protected].

Animal foster families are needed. Each week at Pitties.Love.Peace, they are overwhelmed with requests to help dogs in need, both from overcrowded shelters and owners who can no longer care for their dog.

In order to help any dog, they need a suitable match in a foster family willing to open their hearts and home to a furry friend in need.

The group is in need of reliable foster families for dogs of all ages, sizes, energy levels and temperaments. If you would like more information about fostering for Pitties.Love.Peace, please email [email protected] for more details.

Nonprofit organizations in Lancaster County are encouraged to publish volunteer needs in this column. For information or more volunteer opportunities, contact United Way’s Volunteer Center at 717-824-8122. or email [email protected].