Gain Experience from the Comfort of Your Own Screen

One of the most frustrating things about a job search is that even listings for entry-level positions require a certain amount of experience. How are you supposed to get experience if you can’t get a job? Fortunately, there are ways to gain experience, and even earn a little bit of money, using virtual tools.

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Looking for a Job? Leverage Your Volunteer Work

Volunteers demonstrate a variety of skills when lending their time to an organization, including the ability to communicate, make decisions, lead and consider how actions impact communities both locally and globally. Listing volunteer experience on your rĂ©sumĂ© can make the case to an employer that you have the skills needed to complete the job if you don’t have an extensive work history or are switching career fields. With a lot of well-qualified people competing for the same job, talking up your volunteer efforts can also help you stand out in a crowd of people who may have similar education and work histories.

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Build Your Career by Volunteering Online

You can do almost anything online now—watch TV, balance your checkbook, find great recipes, apply for jobs, talk to friends and family—the list is endless. But did you know you can volunteer via the Internet? Virtual volunteering is a great way to build your skills and strengthen your rĂ©sumĂ©. Virtual volunteers lend their time and talents from the comfort of home and on their own schedule. All you need is a computer with an Internet connection -- either at home or at your local library.

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Celebrate Responsible Dads This Father's Day

June 19 is a day not only to celebrate fathers, but also to recognize the work that organizations nationwide are doing to help struggling fathers gain the job skills and stability they need to support their children and families. One Goodwill in particular has been working for over 10 years to support and build strong fathers because, as they note, “Good fathers make great kids.” Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota's FATHER (Fostering Actions To Help Earnings and Responsibility) Project helps metro-area fathers who are low-income, non-custodial dads to become more involved in their children’s lives. The FATHER Project’s mission is to assist fathers in overcoming the barriers that prevent them from supporting their children economically and emotionally.

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Make Every Day Earth Day

On April 22, people around the world will celebrate Earth Day by volunteering with organizations and initiatives that help create positive impacts on the earth. At GoodwillÂź, we encourage you to think beyond this single day of making a difference and try to create a positive environmental impact each and every day.

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Give Thanks to Volunteers During National Volunteer Month

April is National Volunteer Month, when we celebrate the work that volunteers do year-round. During National Volunteer Week (April 10-16), organizations across the country will recognize their volunteers for helping them achieve their mission. As Goodwill Industries International's national volunteer specialist, I often hear stories about the dedicated volunteers giving their time at Goodwills in the U.S. and Canada. However, one program has allowed one financial institution's employees to turn their skills into a life changing volunteer opportunity: Good Assets, a financial education program funded by the Charles Schwab Foundation.

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Bring the Joy of Reading to Your Community

On March 2, Americans gear up to celebrate the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss and the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day. This day encourages communities to celebrate one of my favorite things: reading. Being unable to read makes many aspects of life difficult, from ordering on a menu to completing applications for jobs. Many Goodwill¼ agencies provide resources to help individuals increase their reading proficiency.

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Have You Thanked a Mentor Today?

January 25 marks Thank Your Mentor Day, a chance for everyone to recognize the important role of mentors in their life. Rosemary Hobbs, mentor coordinator for the Goodwill IndustriesÂź of South Central California (Bakersfield) GoodGuidesÂź program, shares her firsthand account of how mentors make a difference in the lives of youth in her community.

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Make Mentoring Month Every Month Through GoodGuidesÂź

January marks the 10th anniversary of National Mentoring Month. This month, organizations and individuals raise awareness of mentoring in its various forms, with a goal of recruiting individuals to become involved in formal mentoring programs. In November 2009, Goodwill Industries International, along with 56 Goodwills in 38 states, kicked off the GoodGuides youth mentoring program. Today, more than 3,100 youth have been matched with mentors. Across the country, youth, families and referral sources report positive changes in the lives of youth from mentoring. Read about one successful pair matched through the GoodGuides program and learn how you can make a difference in a young person's life as a mentor.

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Gain Good Job Skills and Support Working Families as a VITA Volunteer

This year, growing numbers of workers will qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) because their income declined or they experienced unemployment. The EITC is a refundable federal income tax credit for working individuals and families with low-to-moderate incomes. Last year, the program lifted an estimated 6.6 million people out of poverty — including 3.3 million children— making this tax credit one of the largest anti-poverty federal measures in the U.S. To help workers claim the EITC and other tax credits, the Internal Revenue Service’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to low-to-moderate income working families with the help of trained volunteers. Goodwills across the country are currently training hundreds of volunteers to help members of their community to prepare their taxes this season.

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Make a Difference: Become a GoodGuides Youth Mentor

When I was in middle school, a local elementary school was looking for volunteers to assist students in its after-school program. Most of the volunteers were adults; however, because I knew the counselor running the program, I was given the opportunity to help. Thus began my first mentoring role — tutoring one of the students through engaging activities. I remember feeling proud when the student passed a test we'd studied for together, or when I was able to teach someone a new way of solving a math problem. The experience taught me the rewards of empowering others to achieve their potential, and marked the beginning of my passion for mentoring.

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How Can I Make a Difference?

On October 23, thousands of people will volunteer their time to organizations across the country in celebration of the 10th annual Make a Difference Day. For some, this is the one time of year to give back to their community. But how much difference can you make in a day?

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