Why Volunteering Is Important to Your Career

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Volunteer work has the unique ability to impact the lives of others, improve the community or the world around you, increase your personal satisfaction with your own life and boost your professional career. Understanding what volunteer work is, why it is important and the benefits it provides can have a significant impact on both your personal and professional life. Learn everything you need to know about how you can use volunteer work to do something good for the world while also positively impacting your career.

What is volunteer work?

Volunteer work is the act of working for the benefit or better good of someone else without the expectation of being paid or having any other personal gain for the work you do. The primary principle behind volunteer work is that it is our responsibility to provide assistance to those who are less fortunate than ourselves. When you volunteer, you are offering to share your time, skills and talents for the benefit of others without expecting anything in return.

Why should you volunteer?

Volunteering is important because it allows us to help build a better global community. You should volunteer because doing so allows you to contribute something positive that can make a lasting difference in the world. While volunteering does have several personal benefits, you should always be doing so with the genuine interest of helping someone else rather than with the interest of personal financial or social gain.

Benefits of volunteering

Here are several benefits of volunteering:

Improve the lives of others who are less fortunate

The most obvious and primary benefit of volunteer work is that it helps improve the lives of others who are less fortunate than ourselves. Throughout the world and even within our own communities, we can find other people who are struggling or who are less fortunate than we are. You can help make a difference in the lives of these people simply by offering your time and getting involved with global organizations. 

Improve the community or the world around you

The difference that your volunteer work makes in the lives of others can also provide them with the resources or opportunity they need to make a lasting impact in the world. When your volunteer work impacts others in a way that allows them to also volunteer or give back to the community, you have helped improve the lives of not only that person but also of others within your community or in the world around you. Because of this, volunteer work is always about something greater than ourselves.

Enrich your own life

While volunteer work has the primary goal of helping others, there are also several ways in which volunteering can enrich your own life. Volunteering can teach you about social, economic and developmental issues within your community and around the world. Sometimes, volunteer work provides you the opportunity to travel around the world and be exposed to diverse cultures. Volunteering can also help boost your self-confidence and provide you with a sense of community and social belonging that can help reduce mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

Boost your professional career

With the career market becoming more competitive than ever before, candidates need to do more than meet the minimum education, experience and skill requirements to stand out to an employer. Volunteering offers several benefits that can help you boost your professional career. Volunteer work can be the difference between what makes someone look like a good candidate and the best candidate.

Volunteering and your career

Here is a closer look at the specific benefits volunteering can provide to your professional career:

Helps you find your passion and identify career goals

Volunteering can help you discover the things you are passionate about and identify specific goals you have for your career. Through volunteer work, you can have the opportunity to try new occupations within a wide variety of industries to help you find the type of work that is right for you. This can be particularly beneficial to students, recent graduates and individuals who are considering making a career change but aren’t sure what they want to do.

Gain experience and develop skills

If you have limited work experience or have gaps in your employment, you can use volunteer work to show relevant experience and to fill employment gaps in your resume. Volunteer work provides students, recent graduates and individuals interested in making a career change the opportunity to gain experience that is relevant to the position they want to apply for. It also provides you the opportunity to learn new skills and develop existing skills.

 If you have volunteer experience within the specific role or industry you are interested in pursuing a career in, that volunteer experience can help your resume stand out from the competition. The person reviewing your resume will see you are so passionate about the industry and the position that you are willing to contribute your time and skills to do good within the industry without expecting anything in return. 

Meet new people and expand your professional network

Volunteering also allows you the ability to meet new people and expand your professional network in both a natural and neutral way. In addition to forming long-term connections with the people you are volunteering for, you can also form meaningful connections with the people who are volunteering with you. Sometimes, these people may also be powerful connections within the industry or company you are interested in.

Builds self-confidence

Knowing you are interested and passionate about the role you are applying to, having relevant experience, developing skills and making long-lasting connections with new people all have a major benefit in common—they help you build your own self-confidence. Strong self-confidence can help you appear more knowledgeable and experienced during an interview as you are able to answer questions in a confident manner. It can also give you the courage you need to pursue your career goals and advancement opportunities within your existing company.