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Why Volunteering Matters

March 3, 2016

You’ve always known that volunteering is something that you should do. It’s a way to help others and help your community.

Volunteering is good for your community, but it’s good for your career too. Here’s a few reasons why...

1. It can give you direction.

Most of the time we think of volunteering as serving food at a homeless shelter or building a house for Habitat for Humanity. But there are lots of opportunities to volunteer in lots of different fields.

In fact, by exploring different areas of interest, and then finding volunteer opportunities in those areas, you can gain valuable insight and direction as to where you might want to take your career.

For example, if you like to write, try finding a volunteer position writing blog posts or a newsletter for a non-profit. It’s low pressure, and can be quite beneficial for both parties.

Charlene, a hiring expert from Gap Inc. says, “Find something you are passionate about and enjoy doing, helping children, cleaning up your city, building houses, or assisting the elderly, then find organizations that support your passion.” 

2. Volunteering is refreshing.

When you are looking for a job, it’s easy to get caught in a what feels like a black hole and only think about finding a job. That can be tiring.

Volunteering can help you step back and gather a larger perspective. It takes the focus off of you, and puts the focus onto others and your community.

3. You can make connections.

In the same way volunteering can give you some direction for your career, it can also allow you to make valuable connections in your field(s) of interest.

Marisella, a hiring expert from American Express says, “Research companies you desire to work at and see which volunteer organizations they support.”

By doing this, you may make valuable connections either at the event, or during an interview. Being able to share your passion for a certain cause with an organization will make you stand out from the rest of the interviewers.

Plus, when someone sees you volunteering your time to hone your craft, they’re even more likely to give you a great recommendation in your next job search.

4. It’s a resume builder.

Volunteer experience looks good on any application. Whether you’re applying to grad school or trying to get a new job, volunteering always boosts your resume.

Stephanie, a hiring expert with AT&T says, “When your work experience is a little on the lighter side, it can be a really good idea to think about some non-traditional ways to demonstrate your leadership, problem-solving and strategic thinking skills.”

Have you been the head of any groups? Ever organize an event? Did you come up with innovative ways to manage your personal projects? Those are great points to put on your resumes.

5. You can learn a lot about yourself.

Many of us don’t volunteer because we don’t think that’s really who we are. We tend to think of people who volunteer as saints on a pedestal.

In reality, volunteering just takes a little effort and as little as a Saturday afternoon. And many of us might be surprised not only by how easy it is, but how much we enjoy it.

Maybe you are one of those people after all.

6. It develops character.

When we volunteer, we’re giving up our own time for no monetary reward. We’re not taking the path of least resistance.

Saturdays could easily be spent on the couch in a Netflix binge. But when we volunteer, we’re not choosing what we want to do, we’re choosing what we ought to do. And that kind of resolve and self-control will inevitably come in handy down the road.

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