So you’re looking for that first job out of school. You can’t find anything that makes any money aside from the bit you can get in customer service or at a call centre. You can’t find an internship, that’ll teach you anything, not even one that doesn’t pay. What should you do? Well, aside from developing a portfolio at GenM, VOLUNTEER.Volunteer, anywhere, doing anything, but especially for a cause you believe in. But why would I do that, how will it help me? How will it help me to get a job?This is why you--or anyone--should volunteerThere are psychological - and even physical - benefits to volunteering. Dawn C. Carr writes in Psychology Today that “Volunteers are happier and healthier than non-volunteers. In fact, during later life, volunteering is even more beneficial for one's health than exercising and eating well. Older people who volunteer remain physically functional longer, have more robust psychological well-being, and live longer.” She goes on to explain: “Although it is not well-understood why volunteering provides such a profound health benefit, a key factor is assumed to be that volunteering serves to express and facilitate opportunities to carry out one’s sense of purpose. The very nature of volunteering means choosing to work without being paid for it. As a result, people choose to spend their time on issues they feel strongly about. If you are greatly concerned about the treatment and well-being of animals, for example, volunteering at an animal shelter will help you address a social problem that is meaningful to you.” Looking for a job is one of the most stressful situations to be in, and it can make you feel powerless. Volunteering is a way of taking control over your situation and feeling empowered to change yourself and the world.Volunteering builds your network by establishing strong relationships. If you reach out to someone who works in the field you want to work in, they may realize immediately that what you want from them is help finding a job. But volunteering with people who care about the same causes as you do, means you already have something in common with them. It’s easy to strike up a meaningful conversation. You can read more about adding people to your network here.Volunteering improves your image for potential employers by showing you have purpose. People want to hire people who care. Volunteering is a great way to improve your personal brand. You can read more about personal branding here. You are like a company and the product you are selling is you. Just as you would prefer to buy from brands with ethical practices, so too do people like to hire employees who are conscientious.Volunteering can develop industry-specific skills. Want to crack the marketing field? Even charities require people to help them with social media and event planning, for example. These are skills they may be willing to teach you, and then you will have a new skill to put on your resume! Remember, your first job in marketing is marketing yourself. But I want to make money, not work for free!!I hear you, I hear you. You are a company and every company needs a profit to survive. Remember this quote if you want a salary--want a profit for your company:“Long-term profits are maximized by not making them the primary goal”--John Mackey, founder and CEO, Whole FoodsSo what is the primary goal, you’re asking? The primary goal of your little company should always be the development of your product. That is, your own self-development. Whether it be learning a new skill, or supporting projects you believe in, or finding new ways to cope with stress, or finding new reasons to like yourself, always, always self-improve. Volunteer because it makes a difference, not only in the world, but in you.