Posted by on Jan 13, 2016 Views: 5245

5 Ways Volunteering Can Help You Get a Job

Not only does volunteering increase your happiness, but it allows you to make a difference in someone else’s life. The benefits don’t stop there though, it gets even better.

Giving back can seriously help out your career.

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Volunteering experience adds an edge to your resume and can hook you up with valuable connections. Check out these five ways that it can give your career a boost.

1. Expand your network

Everyone in the workforce, from entry-level job seekers to veteran professionals, can tell you that companies are a lot more likely to hire someone they have some sort of connection to. When searching for a job, knowing someone that works at the company you are applying to can be the difference between your resume getting into the right hands versus ending up in the trash.

Volunteering introduces you to people from all walks of life…who all have their own network of connections. You never know how those connections might come in handy later.

While you’re volunteering, get to know your fellow volunteers.

Be open with them about your career goals. Maybe you’ll come to mind when their brother’s father-in-law has a spot in his company that he needs to fill.

2. Hone your transferrable skills

Volunteering is a great opportunity to hone transferrable skills. Transferrable skills are skills that are a valuable asset in any career, in any field. Leadership, organization, communication and teamwork are all transferrable skills that hiring managers look for, and they are all skills you can demonstrate through volunteer experience.

“Every volunteer experience I had was different. New people, new work, new environment. Being able to adapt to these changes and think on my feet has definitely helped me in my new job. It’s probably the hardest part, because it’s not something taught in school.”
– Susan C., employee at ExxonMobil

Work hard and step into leadership positions when they open up. Be a problem solver. And then remember how you solved problems so you can talk about it later in interviews.

3. Fill in employment gaps on your resume

With the way the job market is these days, it’s normal to have a gap or two between jobs on your resume. Make yours stand out from the rest by filling those gaps with lots of volunteer hours. It shows initiative and demonstrates an excellent work ethic.

Bonus points if you can find a way to give back that allows you to craft your career-specific skills. This shows you’ve been working hard to keep them sharp during your involuntary employment break.

4. Impress hiring managers

Volunteer experience shows you’re the type of person an organization would benefit from having around. Some job listings even explicitly ask for volunteer hours and experience, especially job listings in the nonprofit sector.

“Volunteering for an orphanage helped me get into physical therapy school. Physical therapy is about being selfless and helping others, and my volunteer experience showed I had what it takes. It gave me a lot to talk about in my admissions interview and impressed my interviewers.”
– Emma M., doctor of physical therapy student at Samford University

In Idealist Careers’ 2013 study, 76% of nonprofit hiring managers said nonprofit experience is important. Volunteer experience won’t be a deal-maker for all hiring managers, but for the ones it is, your resume will stand out from the crowd.

5. Boost your confidence

David Jensen, a hiring expert, author and speaker, details how confidence is critical when interviewing in his article for Huffington Post. Job searching is an extremely humbling experience, and that makes it hard to feel confident during interviews.

Being out of the workforce for any amount of time can start to wear on your confidence and make you doubt your abilities. Helping the less fortunate undoubtedly lifts your self-esteem and will put pep in your step when you’re walking into your next interview.

 

Check out our Top-Rated Nonprofits or search for nonprofits in your area to get started. And don’t forget to update your LinkedIn profile after. You’ll thank yourself later.