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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

8 Work-Related Benefits of Volunteering for Job Seekers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

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A woman and a visually impaired young man working with an ipad

Maybe you are among the vast numbers of individuals who are blind or visually impaired who would like to work, but have been unable to find or retain a full-time job. Don't despair. There is something you can do while you search—something that will benefit your community (on behalf of those folks, I personally thank you for giving of your time and talents) and you. Read on to learn 8 work-related benefits of volunteering.

  1. Obtaining a volunteer position in a career field of interest can help you to qualify for a desired job. For example, if you are looking to work as a child care provider, you may seek a volunteer position within a children's community organization. Your volunteer training and successful experience will help qualify you for related paid work.
  2. Networking, Networking, Networking! You may meet your future boss on site; you may work alongside someone who recommends you to your future boss; hey, you may even work for your future boss. Meet and get to know those around you and let them know you are eager and ready to work. Expose your strong work ethic and demonstrate the traits of the perfect worker.
  3. Speaking of the perfect worker, volunteer positions are good training grounds for developing general work skills. You can practice positive work habits, successful communication on the job, and problem-solving at work.
  4. You've heard of a functional disability statement, no? If not, it's the prepared words you share with a potential employer to address his concerns. You will want to describe how, though you have a visual impairment, you will be safe and productive on the job. Volunteer work gives you material to share. You can convince the interview panel you're safe and productive by describing how safe and productive you are while volunteering. Give specific details and examples.
  5. Although you may not currently be employed, you will have a superb answer ("I volunteer my time with...") when the interview panel asks about the time elapsed since your past job or schooling.
  6. As stated in Cornerstone to Success, you will have an answer when folks ask you, "What do you do?" You're still in the work scene. You work, though it may not be a paid job (yet).
  7. Volunteering your time shows potential employers you are an involved citizen, one who cares for others and is potentially a good team player.
  8. Volunteering can raise awareness of personal interests you didn't realize existed. Say you volunteer at a local art museum and are asked to help with a fund-raising project. You may learn you enjoy fund raising and begin searching for related paid work.

Looking for work? Get on out there and volunteer!


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