Updated: Feb 14
You put a lot into your job hunt.
Updating your resume, polishing your LinkedIn profile, researching companies, and brushing up on your interview skills as needed. But what if I told you that you’re missing something big?
Well, you’re probably wondering what this magical secret for success is, aren’t you?
One word: volunteering.
Now, before you roll your eyes and dismiss me as just another do-gooder charity worker who’s trying to motivate you to get off your butt and make a difference in the world (even though, well, I really think you should), hear me out. This is more than just your opportunity to do something great for your community — it can also have a major impact on your job search and professional reputation.
Here are five benefits that volunteering can have on your career:
1. It looks good on your resume
Let’s start with the most obvious one first. After all, when’s the last time you heard someone complain about a person being too helpful and community-minded? Likely never. I’m sure the skills listed on your resume are nothing short of impressive. But, when you’re willing to use those competencies to help with a deserving cause—even when there’s really nothing in it for you?
That makes you look not only qualified, but conscientious.
2. An opportunity to meet new people
No, networking doesn’t just need to be done on LinkedIn, at a formal networking event nor does it need to be forced, uncomfortable, or filled with awkward pauses. Volunteering = pretty friendly, low-pressure environment for genuine, engaging conversations with people who share your interests—without that awkward air of expectations.
3. It helps you determine your career goals
A great way to gather information and find out what exactly you’re looking for in regards to your career. Perhaps you’ve always worked for a large company and are curious about what life is like with a smaller non-profit or a start-up environment.
Beyond company size, volunteering is also an effective way to discover other important key features about how you function. Do you like working as part of a team or independently? Do you enjoy getting your hands dirty, or do you prefer coordination and administrative tasks?
Does working with a certain type of organisation make you feel especially inspired and fulfilled?
Volunteering presents a non-threatening opportunity for you to figure all of that stuff out. And, that information is undoubtedly valuable when determining your next career move!
4. It allows you to develop and refine new skills
You’ve mastered your current position. And while it’s great to feel confident and secure in your job, that doesn’t mean you want to be completely done trying and experiencing new things. When you volunteer, you can try your hand at different skills and challenges, without any threat to your reputation or current job standing.
5. It makes you more confident
An expanded network. Improved skills. Increased knowledge. They all help you to present yourself as an impressive and well-rounded candidate.
Plus, your experiences also give you a few different talking points to answer some of those common interview questions. You can provide details on your various skills, and also share how you applied them in a real-world setting while simultaneously benefitting your community—which will make you look even more amazing.
Yes, volunteering is a great and powerful thing. It can have a pretty huge impact on your career and job search. So, keep these benefits in mind and get out there and do something!
You won’t regret it.