Volunteering goes beyond making a positive impact on society—it can also significantly enhance your career prospects. By dedicating your time and skills to a cause you believe in, you can gain valuable experiences and develop essential skills that impress employers. In this blog post, we’ll explore the top five benefits of volunteering from a career perspective. Discover our top 5 benefits of volunteering that can open doors to exciting opportunities and give your professional journey a remarkable boost.
When it comes to securing your dream job, experience is key. Volunteering provides an excellent platform to gain practical experience that you can proudly showcase on your CV or resume. Just like paid positions, volunteer roles require dedication, commitment, and specific skill sets. Employers value this firsthand experience as it demonstrates your initiative, work ethic, and passion for making a difference.
Imagine you’re applying for a marketing role, and you’ve volunteered for a non-profit organization to manage their social media presence. This experience allows you to develop and showcase your social media management skills, content creation abilities, and data analytics know-how. By listing such experiences on your CV, you provide concrete evidence of your capabilities and dedication to potential employers. Not only does it make your CV stand out, but it also demonstrates your adaptability and willingness to go the extra mile.
Incorporating volunteer experience on your CV can be particularly advantageous for recent graduates or individuals looking to switch careers. It fills the gap when you have limited professional experience and shows that you’ve taken the initiative to build your skill set. Employers appreciate candidates who demonstrate a proactive approach to their professional development, and volunteering can be a strong testament to that. Find out how to write a CV and utilise your valuable volunteer experience.
Volunteering offers a unique opportunity to develop and enhance a wide range of transferable skills that are highly valued in the professional world. Through volunteering, you can refine skills such as communication, teamwork, leadership, problem-solving, and time management.
Consider a scenario where you volunteer as a team leader for a local community project. This role requires effective communication to coordinate tasks, delegate responsibilities, and ensure smooth collaboration among team members. By taking on this responsibility, you enhance your communication and leadership skills, which are essential qualities sought after by employers in various industries.
Moreover, volunteering often involves adapting to new environments and working with diverse groups of people. This cultivates your cultural competence, adaptability, and empathy, making you more flexible and open-minded in the workplace. These soft skills are highly transferable and can make a significant difference in your professional interactions and career advancement.
As you engage in different volunteer activities, be mindful of the specific skills you are developing and find ways to articulate them on your CV and during job interviews. Highlighting the practical skills you gained through volunteering can give you a competitive edge over other candidates. One of our career posters shares skills and qualities you could bring to the workplace. This is a good place to start when thinking about what you’ve gained from volunteering.
Expanding your professional network is a crucial aspect of career development, and volunteering provides an excellent platform to connect with like-minded individuals and industry professionals. As you engage in volunteer work, you’ll have the opportunity to meet people from diverse backgrounds who share your passion for the cause.
Networking within the volunteering community can lead to valuable connections that can open doors to new opportunities. You may come across mentors who can provide guidance and advice related to your career aspirations. Additionally, professionals within the organization you volunteer for may have connections with other professionals or organizations that align with your career goals.
Attending volunteer events, workshops, or conferences allows you to network with professionals outside of your immediate volunteer circle. Seize the opportunity to exchange contact information, connect on professional platforms, and maintain those relationships. Networking can lead to potential job offers, internships, or even recommendations for future employment.
Incorporate volunteering experiences into your networking conversations and online profiles. Sharing your passion for the causes you support can make a lasting impression on potential employers and colleagues, showcasing your dedication and commitment to making a difference.
Volunteering can be a gateway to exploring different career paths and gaining invaluable insights into various industries. Often, individuals may have a general idea of their desired career but lack firsthand experience in that field. Volunteering allows you to immerse yourself in the industry, providing you with a realistic understanding of the day-to-day work and responsibilities involved.
Let’s say you aspire to work in environmental conservation. Volunteering with organizations focused on conservation efforts exposes you to the field’s challenges, opportunities, and the kind of impact you can make. It allows you to work alongside professionals already established in the industry, providing you with mentorship and guidance as you explore your career path.
Volunteering also enables you to test the waters in different roles or sectors, helping you narrow down your interests. For instance, if you’re considering a career in healthcare, volunteering at a local hospital can help you gain exposure to various healthcare professions and determine which one aligns best with your skills and interests.
The hands-on experience gained through volunteering can significantly inform your career decisions, allowing you to make more informed choices and pursue avenues that genuinely resonate with you. For example, you might try to find an apprenticeship, find an entry level job, or possibly volunteer further in your chosen field. Volunteering give you the chance to find out what could work best for you.
Volunteering offers more than just professional benefits—it also provides tremendous opportunities for personal growth and building self-confidence. Stepping out of your comfort zone and taking on new challenges through volunteering can help you develop resilience, self-esteem, and a sense of accomplishment.
When you volunteer, you may encounter situations that require problem-solving, decision-making, and adaptability. Overcoming these challenges boosts your self-confidence and belief in your abilities. As you navigate unfamiliar tasks or handle responsibilities outside your comfort zone, you realize your capacity for growth and development.
Furthermore, volunteering allows you to gain a deeper understanding of yourself, your values, and your passions. It provides a space to reflect on your strengths and areas for improvement, fostering self-awareness and personal growth. You may discover hidden talents, interests, or a newfound sense of purpose that can shape your career direction.
Volunteering also offers the opportunity to engage with individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. This exposure enhances your interpersonal skills, empathy, and understanding of diverse perspectives—qualities that are highly valued in today’s interconnected and multicultural workplaces.
As you grow personally, these positive changes have a ripple effect on your professional life. Increased self-confidence, resilience, and self-awareness positively influence your performance at work, your ability to handle challenges, and your overall career trajectory.
We’ve covered the benefits of volunteering for your personal growth. But, I feel it’s important to also touch on the benefits and impact you can have on your local community too. Volunteers play a vital role in supporting and strengthening communities. When individuals volunteer their time, talents, and energy, they contribute to the well-being of society in numerous ways:
It’s important to keep in mind that your efforts not only benefit your own professional growth but also contribute to a stronger, more vibrant community.
Volunteering brings a multitude of benefits for career development. From gaining valuable experience for your CV to developing essential skills, expanding your professional network, exploring diverse career paths, and experiencing personal growth, the advantages are undeniable. So, why not seize the opportunity to make a difference while also enhancing your career prospects?
Remember, volunteering is not only about giving back—it’s an investment in yourself and your future. So, find a cause that resonates with you, get involved, and unlock the incredible benefits that volunteering has to offer.
Have you considered how to find a volunteering opportunity near you yet? Our blog provides a step by step guide on how start your volunteering journey.
The National Careers Service offers free advice about careers and skills to anyone aged 13 or over and living in England. To speak to a professional careers adviser, call 0800 100 900 or use webchat (8am – 8pm Monday – Friday; 10am – 5pm Saturday)