April 19, 2023

How Volunteering Can Improve Your Career Prospects

As we navigate our career paths, there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration regarding how we can best position ourselves and set ourselves apart as candidates. Most of us will of course immediately ensure that our academic credentials, training and experience are in alignment with the requirements of the jobs within the industry we’re seeking to work. But have you considered how volunteering might improve your likelihood of landing the perfect position?

Volunteering your time and giving back to your community can offer numerous benefits to your development while enhancing your prospects both personally and professionally. Volunteerism on your resume can greatly set you apart when applying for jobs. It demonstrates an ability to adapt to new environments and highlights your drive and ambition for trying new things. The Corporation for National and Community Service reports that in the past ten years, candidates who include volunteer experience in their CVs had a 27% better chance of finding employment than their non-volunteer counterparts.

If you’re currently job-seeking, take note: volunteering can be a great asset in landing your next job by setting you apart from many of the other applicants. It allows you to expand your network, increase your skill set, as well as boost your self-esteem. These are three vital components employers value when looking for job candidates.

Some other factors that are important to consider; if volunteering and community service/outreach are important to you, take the time to research companies whose values are in alignment with yours. Read their mission statements and look into their values, investigate the organizations they support and with whom they collaborate. When you interview with them, ask a LOT of questions! To ensure a good fit, it is important to remember that you are interviewing the organization just as much as they are interviewing you!

Here are some ways that volunteerism can act as a key differentiator between you and the rest of the candidates in a professional hiring pool:

Broaden and Diversify Your Network

When job-seeking, the breadth and depth of your network can be a critical factor in inching closer and closer to securing a job. Volunteering is a great way to achieve that. It can offer you the opportunity to broaden your exposure to a diverse range and variety of professionals who you may not have otherwise met or with whom you might not have had the opportunity to collaborate. Whether you meet someone at the specific organization where you’re volunteering or collaborate with volunteers from other organizations, there is potential for ongoing occasions to discover potential job connections. By participating in work through volunteer opportunities, you’re putting yourself in an environment to connect with a wide range of new people and networks. You never know where a conversation could lead.

Increase Your Skill Set & Your Appeal as a Candidate

Another huge perk of volunteering is the ability to gain experience in communication and collaboration with people from all different backgrounds and walks of life. Often, volunteer opportunities bring together collaborators from a wide range of various industries and a broad swath of experience levels. Your ability to adapt to varying styles, levels and topics of communication is invaluable experience to include on your resume. Depending on which volunteer positions you take on, volunteering allows you great potential to increase your skill set and train in an array of areas where you may not have otherwise had the opportunity. You could be presented with opportunities to learn skills in customer service, writing, serving, care and support of children, animals, or elders – There are a variety of ways that you can volunteer in and learn about virtually any industry in which you’re interested. Also, if you’re curious about making a career change, but uncertain what might make a great fit, volunteering is a great place to start. It allows you to dabble in different industries and positions while gaining insights and experience to help you make an informed decision. By including your volunteer skills as part of your application process for a traditional job, you exponentially increase the likelihood of outshining other candidates. A Deloitte survey of human resources executives published findings that 81% of hiring execs feel skilled volunteering should be considered as part of their hiring decision, and 81% also feel that volunteering makes a college-graduate candidate more desirable.

Boost Your Self-Esteem

Perhaps most importantly, volunteering is a great way to build your self-esteem and self-confidence and improve your sense of self-worth. Often, through outreach and acts of volunteering, you’re nudging yourself out of your comfort zone and forcing yourself to try something new. This type of experiential growth can significantly boost your confidence by proving to yourself that you are capable of adapting to new environments and learning new skills beyond what you may have believed. Ongoing volunteerism also offers you a sense of accomplishment and can improve personal self-worth. According to Harvard University, volunteering once per week is equivalent to a “life-changing salary boost,” and has a tremendous impact on your level of personal happiness.  The contribution of your time and talent to support others enriches not just their lives but your own. Also advantageous, volunteering has been shown to combat psychological issues like stress, anger, and anxiety. You know at the end of each day that you’re doing something valuable and serving a greater, selfless purpose.

There are boundless benefits to volunteering as a career prospect and countless opportunities to volunteer within the roles and organizations that are best suited to you, and which complement your goals and your career objectives. Volunteerism offers you a unique opportunity to stand out from other job candidates by adding different elements to your resume and experience that others aren’t as likely to have. If you’re currently job-seeking, consider volunteering at a local organization today, or reach out to us here to discuss your search: https://www.jkexec.com/

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