As human beings, we are all naturally altruistic. There’s no denying that one of the most popular ways to help others is by volunteering for a charitable cause. As you can imagine, there are charities out there whose aim it is to help others in a variety of ways.
The thing about volunteering is that it isn’t just a way to help further the work of the charity that you work for; it also offers a whole host of other benefits. One of those advantages, of course, is that it could help you to secure a paid role with the charity or elsewhere.
Still, you might be wondering just how doing some unpaid voluntary work could land you a decent job? Here are some of the ways that volunteering could help you land a paid role doing something you love and using the skills you’ve developed:
You’ll learn new skills
Undoubtedly one of the most significant advantages of being a volunteer for one or more charities is that you’ll gain some useful and practical skills. Some employers favor candidates with degree-level education, but others prefer hands-on practical experience.
Volunteering provides people with a way of gaining new skills they would otherwise have never learned in future employment or from past roles. With that in mind, what kinds of skills could you potentially learn as a volunteer?
Examples include project management, sales and marketing, and even team and event management.
You may not realize it now. But, when you’ve written down on your resume that you’ve done volunteering, potential future employers will wish to discuss your volunteering experience. That’s because they want to gauge what skills you’ve learned in your time as a volunteer.
You’ll network with some influential people
Another benefit of doing volunteering work is that it’s highly likely you’ll come across some very influential people in the course of your duties. Many charities are usually sponsored by millionaire entrepreneurs or otherwise well-known and influential individuals.
How can that help you as someone ultimately looking to secure a rewarding, well-paid job with excellent career prospects? The answer is simple: those influential people can introduce you to other folks that are looking for skilled and educated people like yourself.
Yes, it’s essential to have a good education when it comes to getting considered for decent jobs. But, there’s also a certain element of knowing the right people “up the chain”, as it were, to consider.
You’ll get to experience life from different perspectives
Still not convinced that volunteering can do much to help you with your career prospects? Well, another reason that it can be advantageous to you is that you’ll get to experience life from other people’s point of view.
For example, you could choose to volunteer with charities that work with homeless people. In the United States alone, the official homeless count in 2018 was 552,830 people. Although, figures are likely to be higher today, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
There are many ways that, as a volunteer, you could work with the homeless to help improve their lives. Working in a shelter that provides temporary accommodation, food, and drink is one such way.
Another option might be to specialize in a certain area such as mental health. One of the major challenges that face today’s homeless communities is mental disorders like depression, anxiety, and psychosis.
If you’re looking to forge a career in mental health, volunteering with such a charity that works with homeless or other disadvantaged people can significantly help with your career prospects.
You may find that you can potentially advocate for better medical care for homeless people through your paid position, such as what people like Cynthia Telles have done (and are still championing).
Of course, volunteering to work with homeless communities isn’t the only thing you could do. You could volunteer to work with elderly or disabled people, children, or even animals – whatever it is you’re passionate about helping with!
Volunteering is good for filling in employment gaps
If you’re a recent graduate, you will probably end up with gaps in your employment history. Especially when you’ve finished your education but don’t have a job ready to start. In most interviews, potential employers will ask you about why you’ve got gaps in your employment.
And if you have too many gaps, employers might become suspicious of that fact and assume you aren’t likely to stick around for the duration. So, what can you do about those employment history gaps?
You guessed it: do some volunteering work! Some people reading this article might think that it’s advocating volunteering as merely a way to fill in employment gaps and nothing more. But, employers view such work as candidates gaining professional experience.
Volunteering work might be unpaid but it’s still employment. It’s still “a job” and something worthy of noting down on your resume. When adding those details to your resume, it makes sense to add it under your professional work history.
Volunteering proves you’re passionate
Let’s face it: employers generally don’t want to hire people with no drive and ambition. Nor do they want to take on candidates that have the right skills but are indifferent about the work they do each day.
Employers want to hire people that have clear motivation and conviction in their chosen career paths. They want to take on folks that are passionate about what they do and will go above and beyond the call of duty to solve problems.
Okay, so you might be thinking that employers only want to hire superheroes. But, you don’t need to have any superhero strength to impress potential bosses at interviews. All you need to do is prove that you’re a passionate individual!
One way of demonstrating that fact is by volunteering for charities and organizations that tackle issues you deeply care about. Employers want to know that you’ll be a good fit for their company both on a professional level but also will make a good cultural fit.
Thanks for reading today’s article – good luck with your volunteering!