Throughout a person’s career, there are countless strategies available to achieve success through networking, interview preparation, understanding and navigating career changes, and leveraging transferable skills.
However, many people overlook the huge benefits of community contributions as a career booster.
Not recognizing the value of volunteerism or thinking that there is little time to commit to charitable activities can be a mistake, especially when actively job seeking. In this article, we will highlight the advantages that volunteering can bring to your professional success in all stages of career development.
One of the most amazing things about volunteer work is that there is always an abundance of opportunities. Whether you are just beginning your career, have been employed for some time and are now job searching, or are looking towards retirement, there are myriad of charitable and community organizations searching for people to fill diverse roles. Volunteer work comes in every imaginable shape and size and offers both in-person and remote options. Some opportunities can be a single event while others last several weeks, months, or are ongoing. Volunteering spans many varied fields, including education, technology, sports, healthcare, social justice, conservation, community development, animal care, working with children or the elderly, and many more. This allows volunteers to find options that best fit their work and home life as well as choose one that interests them or aligns with their career goals.
Volunteerism is not only beneficial to your community but is also valuable to your career. For those currently employed, it helps to boost your professional network and continue to build skills not regularly practiced in the workplace.
A common misconception is that job seekers could more effectively spend their time actively job searching than volunteering when in reality, volunteering is a powerful way to market yourself.
Employers look for volunteer experience and community leadership when considering new hires and candidates for promotion. Not only does it show a potential employer that you are motivated and driven but it can help bridge gaps in your résumé while showcasing your commitment to the community. Volunteering is also a great way to maintain and build morale during a job search and can oftentimes lead to referrals, recommendations, and even job opportunities.
The positive personal impact of volunteering is impossible to overstate.
It provides personal fulfillment, improves self-esteem and confidence, and contributes to society in critically important ways while enhancing your value in the eyes of potential employers.
In addition, it can expand your professional network, and help develop both practical competencies as well as the coveted “soft skills” like social perceptiveness that are in high demand at many organizations. With so many benefits, it is clear that volunteering can be a secret weapon for success at any stage of your career.