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5 Ways Volunteer Work Is Good for Your Career

Topics: Career Advice

When you sign up to be a volunteer, the last thing you’re probably thinking is: How will this benefit me? You may be surprised to learn that it’s helping you out in more ways than one. Every time you volunteer, you’re not only helping a worthy cause, but you’re also boosting your career. Here’s how giving back could help you get ahead.


(Photo Credit: ryanlachica/Flickr)

Volunteer work:

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  1. Allows you to exercise valuable workplace skills.

Even if your volunteer work has nothing to do with your job, you’re exercising skills that will come in handy at work. For instance, if you were in charge of a group of volunteers, then you probably used some leadership or management skills during the event. Even being on a team of volunteers means you practiced teamwork and team-building skills. As little as your responsibilities may seem, they are huge when it comes to building essential skills that make for a well-rounded professional.

  1. Speaks volumes about you as a person.

When recruiters see that you have volunteer work listed on your resume, it lets them know that you are responsible enough to take the initiative and do something productive with your free time. It’s important for you to look good on paper as a professional, but it’s even more beneficial when a recruiter can see that you’re a decent, altruistic person, too.

  1. Expands your network personally and professionally.

Volunteering allows you to connect with individuals who could help you out in your career. The great thing about meeting people at volunteer events is that you know you have something really great in common with them: volunteering. What’s more, the connections you make at an event will form more organically due to the absence of the usual pressures and expectations of a typical networking event.

  1. Helps you stand out as a candidate/professional.

One thing is certain: employers value candidates with volunteer experience. In fact, Fortune reported that 82 percent of recruiters indicated that they prefer applicants with volunteer experience and 92 percent said it builds leadership skills, based on a recent Deloitte study. Unfortunately, not many candidates actually mention their (unpaid) volunteer work on their resumes – only 32 percent, to be exact. If you want to stand out as a professional, volunteer work is the way to do it.

  1. Helps you discover your passions in life.

Your volunteer work is most likely with organizations and causes you’re passionate about, so why not make a career out of it? Non-profits aren’t typically known for dishing out lucrative salaries, but having a career doing something you love could be worth taking a pay cut. According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, a whopping 70 percent of employees are not engaged at work, which means they care little, if at all, about their job and company. With stats like that, you may be better off chasing your passions, rather than chasing a paycheck.

In the end, volunteer work does good for all parties involved, so get out there and do some more good your community and your career.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you volunteer? Share your favorite organization with our community on Twitter, or leave a quick comment below. Sharing is definitely caring.

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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