The Boston Globe has an article in today's paper, Volunteering your way to a job. Although there is a lot of work to be done when you are first unemployed (i.e. getting your resume in order, applying for unemployment, etc...), if you are organized and efficient, you can conduct an effective job search in just a few hours each week.
When I was laid off in 2001, making myself available and keeping busy was essential. After being unemployed for a couple of months, I realized I needed to shake-up my routine so I turned to the AIDS Action Committee of MA (AAC) to volunteer Tuesday - Friday from 10:00am - 4:00pm in the development office.
I initially approached AAC for selfish reasons as a tech lay-off but my time at this wonderful health and human services non-profit paved the road and redirected me to a career in healthcare. Without realizing it, I was making excellent connections and more importantly, I was re-training myself. Too often people assume learning and career training needs to take place within a classroom, but that is simply not true.