Talking Points

Four young people volunteering and litter-picking on a beach.

Why volunteering is good for your career

Volunteering is often considered an act of selflessness and a way to give back to the community or help those in need.

While volunteering benefits others, it’s also crucial to recognise how being a volunteer can positively impact your career.

Whether you’re on the first rung of the career ladder or have been working full-time for years, volunteering is a compelling option for career development.

Take the most enlightening lunch break of your working life, and let’s dive into how volunteering helps your career while you help others.

You gain experience in your field

Everyone knows the vicious circle of needing experience to get a job. Still, you can’t get experience without working in that position.

Why not volunteer somewhere you’d love to work and gain unpaid experience? Next time a position becomes available, you’ll have the experience they’re after — and the interviewer may even know you already.

Through your volunteering, they’ll know how keen you are to land a job in the company.

You’re no longer limited by geography when searching for a volunteering role, either — plenty of online options are available to volunteer for any charity or company worldwide.

Of course, if you’re keen to travel or wish to work abroad, jump on a train or aeroplane and volunteer overseas.

You gain and develop new skills

One of the significant career benefits of volunteering is building a skillset that would tempt a future employer in any industry.

The exact skills you’ll acquire depends on your role, but volunteers often develop skills in:

  • time management
  • problem-solving
  • punctuality
  • organisation
  • communication
  • teamwork
  • leadership.

Transferable skills are highly desirable in the workplace and enable you to show potential employers how you’d use specific skills in a position with them.

You become more employable

Alongside developing existing skills and gaining new ones, volunteering tells potential employers more about your personality.

A stint of volunteering on your CV tells anyone reading it that you’re a self-motivated, driven, and passionate individual who is comfortable with commitment and keen to learn.

If you volunteer with a charity, hiring managers will also view you as a kind-natured and proactive person willing to give their time for a cause they care about.

Who wouldn’t want to employ someone like that?

You broaden your network

A diverse group of volunteers putting their hands together in unity.
Expand your network through volunteering

Volunteering is a great way to expand your professional network. By working alongside volunteers, other staff, managers and clients, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with people who share your values, goals, and interests.

There’s less pressure on you to perform when chatting as a volunteer, so it can be easier to form meaningful connections through genuine conversation.

The more people you know in your field, the more likely someone will put your name forward for roles you might be interested in.

You’ll also become the first to hear about new positions and have a higher chance of reaching the interview stage of your job applications.

The phrase ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ certainly has some truth.

You gain confidence

When volunteering, you are often pushed outside your comfort zone — whether meeting new people, public speaking, or travelling to new places.

While leaving your comfort zone can feel intimidating and scary, it boosts your confidence because you’re feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

Confidence is a helpful tool in the world of work as it enables you to proudly showcase your skills and experience to potential employers and push for career advancement.

With confidence comes the ability to perform and present well in meetings, put yourself forward for new opportunities, and negotiate a pay rise when you feel you deserve one.

You could be offered paid opportunities

Many organisations hire volunteers for paid positions when they’ve demonstrated their skills and commitment and are a good fit for the business or charity.

Additionally, volunteering can provide a foot in the door at an organisation or industry you’re interested in.

By demonstrating your value as a volunteer, you may be able to create opportunities for yourself that wouldn’t have been available otherwise.

You can fill gaps in your CV

Whether you volunteer between jobs or while searching for a new position, it’s beneficial as it fills the gap in your CV and shows your proactive nature.

Being actively engaged and productive during unemployment or career transition demonstrates to future employers how keen you are to work.

Volunteering is also an excellent option if you’re taking a career break.

Final thoughts

Volunteering is a fantastic way to give back while gaining experience and skills, so keep those benefits in mind and get out there to find your ideal volunteering position.

If you’d like to combine seasonal volunteering with your passion for travel, why not consider working at an American summer camp for fun in the United States sun?

While building your career in Leeds, choose top-quality professional accommodation in a great location for work and nightlife.

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