The happy glow you get from volunteering in your community can do more than make you feel good – it can also help advance your career. Here are six of the many ways it pays to be a great volunteer:
Expand your professional network.
When you volunteer you meet new people. As you get to know them better, you may chat about your job and your goals. You never know if the person raking leaves next to you is looking to hire someone with your skills and ambitions, or can lead you to a new opportunity.
Bond with your coworkers.
If youre lucky enough to work for a company that engages in community service as a team, getting away from the office and volunteering together is a great way to bond and build a high-producing team. In fact, a survey by AmericanCharities.org reveals that 87 percent of employees expect their companies to find them opportunities to give back to their community.
Expand your knowledge base.
Beyond traditional volunteer projects like cleaning up the environment or repairing homes, more volunteers are engaging in skills-based projects as pro bono consultants. While you may have some knowledge at the start of such a project, youll gain valuable skills that you can apply immediately to your job and that will build your resume.
Fill in any blanks on your resume.
When the economy is in a downturn, employers are not critical of gaps, according to a survey by CareerBuilder.com. But potential employers will ask what you did with that time off. When youve put it to good use as a volunteer, you can turn time between jobs into a positive. You may have learned new skills as a volunteer or helped improve your community. Either way, you come out stronger.
Improve your image.
Recruiters look for candidates who are knowledgeable and experienced in their field, but who also volunteer. Forbes reports that the Corporation for National and Community Service tracked 70,000 jobless people and found those who volunteered had a 27 percent better chance of finding a job. The willingness to donate your time and talent makes you look qualified as well as conscientious.
Gain valuable references.
Any good manager knows the value of thanking volunteers. When youve done a great job donating your services to an organization, your volunteer supervisor quite likely will give you a great reference for the next job youre seeking.
Looking for more solid stats? Check out the 2017 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Research on volunteering. Eighty percent of respondents say employees who volunteer in their community move more easily into leadership roles.
Ready to jump in? Plenty of worthy organizations can use your help, so its not hard to find the right fit for your skills, interests and aspirations. Check out these national websites for more volunteer opportunities:
There are so many great organizations that need your help. Volunteering is the perfect way to leverage your expertise while giving back to your community.