Career Benefits to Volunteering

Lifelete Fundamentals

December 3, 2014

Volunteering is a great way to help others and give back to your community. Many of us participate in volunteer activities and enjoy the sense of satisfaction it brings to donate our time and services for the good of others. This time of year especially brings an abundance of volunteer opportunities that can carry over that holiday spirit well into the New Year. However, volunteering can also benefit your career as well. Keep in mind the following career benefits to volunteering:

1. Gain professional experience

  • Learn new skills or build upon current skills that need improvement and also gain valuable work experience
  • For example, speaking to different groups about the nonprofit organization helps improve public speaking skills

2. Boost your resume

  • Fills in employment gaps as you can list volunteer experience on your resume
  • Shows a productive use of time while job searching

 3. Build your network

  • Provides an opportunity to make contacts and build your professional network
  • Allows for development of professional relationships with employees of nonprofit organizations as well as other volunteers

4. Open up career opportunities

  • Opens up potential for future career opportunities through volunteer experience and contacts
  • Explore different career options through volunteering

Now that you are aware of the career benefits to volunteering, take some time to find the right volunteer experience that will help your career. Think about what it is you want to do or learn more about. Consider skills that you would like to gain or improve upon. Volunteer activities can consist of a weekend or day event rather than a long-term commitment. It all depends upon your personal and career goals for volunteering. Talk with people first at the nonprofit and take a tour before you commit to make sure it’s a good fit.

If you are unsure about volunteer opportunities available in your area, here are some research suggestions:

  • Contact your local community center or United Way for a list of volunteer opportunities and organizations
  • If you have a nonprofit organization in mind, contact them directly to inquire about volunteer positions
  • Search on Craig’s List under Community for volunteer opportunities in your area
  • Use Volunteer Match to search by cause and location
  • Search volunteer opportunities by interest and location on Idealist

Volunteering is a great way to help others, but it can also be a great way to help your career. Keep in mind these career benefits to volunteering as you decide how and where to help out in your community.