Volunteer experience doesn’t just help the world and soothe your soul but it also broadens your network, builds your skill set and gives you work experience without having to get hired by anyone. Your volunteer work can be a big part of who you are. In fact, new research from LinkedInshows that 1 out of every 5 hiring managers in the U.S. has hired a candidate because of their volunteer experience!
If I was interviewing you for a job, just like it would be interesting to me if you’re a skydiving juggler in your free time, I’d also be curious to learn that you’re building houses for the less fortunate or saving the endangered albino monkeys. As a recruiter, I’ve always encouraged candidates to list their volunteer work on their resumes and as recently as last week, advised some unemployed 20-somethings to start volunteering.
Benefits of Doing Volunteer Work
Think about this: you’re 1 of 2 people competing for a job opening and you both bring the same skill sets to the table. However, only one of you can say that you spend your free time at a charity sending gift packages to our military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Who do you think is going to get the job?
There’s more: Let’s break down the work that it must have taken for that non-profit to send those gift packages to our military overseas. Someone had to do fundraising to pay for what goes into the packages, or make what’s essentially sales calls to different companies, urging them to kick-in free goods for the military. Then there’s the need to coordinate a space for everyone to stuff and mail the packages from, and the need for someone to coordinate and guide the people who are going to volunteer to stuff those packages, as well as the need for someone to coordinate with the military to learn how to get the packages into the right hands. Already we’ve listed the need for leadership skills, sales skills, organization skills, logistics skills – often without even trying or realizing it, you really are growing your skill set by doing volunteer work.
Don’t you want to appear to be the extra-driven person by spending your free time giving back to society? Don’t you want to give something back to help your community, whatever community that might be? Whether you’re employed or unemployed, getting volunteer experience is a great way to do all of this. Plus it’s one of the 15 career development tags that will follow you through life! By doing volunteer work, you’ll meet all kinds of new people, grow more interesting as a person and get a better idea of what you like to do and what you’re good at, which will all help you to find a career that fits you.