Written by Dave Cullen
The personal benefits of volunteering are well documented. Not only can it help to improve your social skills, combat depression, improve life satisfaction and make new friends but it also provides you with some significant career advancement opportunities, these include, learning new skills for free, the potential of expanding your network and discovering new career paths. Mentioning your volunteer experience in your CV’s personal statement will also impress your potential employer, because it helps to positively differentiate you from other candidates.
Volunteering can help you make useful contacts
Volunteering provides some obvious personal benefits such as community involvement, which includes making new friends and connections. Meeting regularly with people who share common interests is a great way of growing your social circle. This often leads to the enhancement of your network contacts base and the potential discovery of new job opportunities.
It looks good on your CV
Employers look very favourably upon candidates who volunteer, because it demonstrates a commitment to social and civic responsibilities. It also highlights very marketable traits such as dedication, teamwork, adherence to the values of an important cause, task management and a hard working ethos. Including volunteer jobs on a CV is especially recommended for recent graduates who may be new to the job market. Such work provides the candidate with real-world practical, hands-on experience in a working environment.
Volunteering can be a great way to help educate yourself, diversify your skillset and augment your existing talents. Even if you do not intend to change careers, you will learn many important life lessons and gain new knowledge and unique experiences, which will likely be of benefit to you in your current job. You may learn to bring some new solutions to some old problems.
Gain experience in your field of interest
When beginning your career, volunteering is a very useful tool for gaining invaluable experience in your industry of focus. You may make helpful contacts and learn many of the skills required for the job you desire. This is a great way to get a taste for a career or industry before you commit to pursuing it as your profession. For example, if you are interested in becoming a community healthcare worker, volunteering at a homeless shelter may be of significant benefit.
For more career tips and job seeking advice, check out some of our other blogs such as: ‘Using Pinterest to find a job’, ‘5 questions to ask in a job interview’, ‘5 Tips for getting a good reference’ and ‘How to write a career path plan’.