Hand filling out job application

Unlocking Career Opportunities: How Volunteering Can Boost Your Job Prospects

Are you looking to stand out in a competitive job market? Hoping to boost your career prospects and gain valuable experience? Consider volunteering. Volunteering allows you to give back to your community while, at the same time, providing experience that may be relevant to job opportunities.

In this article, we’ll explore how volunteering can boost your job prospects and provide tips to leverage your volunteer experience.

The Benefits of Volunteering

Volunteering can be defined as the act of offering one’s time, skills, or resources to help others or contribute to a cause without expecting monetary compensation. It can take many forms, from working at a local food bank to assisting with a fundraising event for a nonprofit organization. It is generally driven by a desire to make a positive impact on the community.

Beyond the positive impact on others, volunteering gives the volunteer personal and professional development as well. Here are some benefits:

  1. Acquiring New Skills: Volunteering provides an opportunity to learn and develop skills that can be valuable in the workplace. These skills could include project management, leadership, communication, problem-solving, and more.
  2. Broadening Your Knowledge: In addition to acquiring new skills, volunteering exposes you to new ideas, perspectives, and experiences. It allows you to step outside of your comfort zone and learn about different cultures, industries, or social issues. This can help you to be a more well-rounded and inclusive colleague.
  3. Demonstrating Important Qualities: Volunteering showcases important qualities that employers value, such as initiative, dedication, teamwork, and a strong work ethic. It demonstrates that you are willing to go above and beyond, take on new challenges, and work collaboratively towards a common goal.
  4. Building a Strong Network: Volunteering provides an excellent opportunity to connect with professionals in your field of interest. You could meet and network with like-minded individuals who share your passion for making a difference. These connections can open doors to new career opportunities, mentorship, and valuable industry insights.

How volunteering can boost your job prospects

Volunteer experience can enhance your job prospects. It not only adds value to your resume, but also provides real-life examples of your skills and abilities. Here is how you might put that experience to use when job hunting:

Volunteer Experience on Your Resume

When applying for a job, your resume is generally your first “interaction” with potential employers, and it is crucial to make a positive impression and stand out from the competition. Volunteer experience can help you achieve this by showcasing your commitment, skills, and dedication to making a difference.

When listing your volunteer experience on your resume, be sure to highlight the specific skills and responsibilities you gained during your time volunteering. Focus on transferable skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying for, such as leadership, communication, project management, or teamwork. Quantify your achievements, if possible, to provide concrete evidence of your impact, similar to how you might list your professional achievements on a resume.

Networking Opportunities Through Volunteering

Networking is a powerful tool for career advancement, and volunteering provides ample opportunities to connect with professionals in your industry of interest. Through volunteering, you can attend events, workshops, or conferences where you can meet and interact with like-minded individuals.

Volunteering in Your Industry of Interest

If you have a specific industry or career path in mind, volunteering (or perhaps interning, if possible) in that field can give you a competitive edge.

If you’re interested in a career in healthcare, for instance, volunteering at a hospital or clinic can provide firsthand exposure to the industry. You can observe healthcare professionals in action, learn about different roles and responsibilities, and even gain practical experience by assisting with patient care or administrative tasks.

Volunteering as a Career Transition Strategy

Volunteering can also be a strategic move if you’re looking to transition into a new career or industry. It may provide a way for you to “test the waters” a bit.

Maybe you have interest in pursuing a career in marketing but lack professional experience. Volunteering for a nonprofit organization’s marketing department, such as helping with social media, can provide you with hands-on experience and valuable insights into the industry. It can also help you build a portfolio of work to showcase to potential future employers.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to get involved, we invite you to visit the “Find Volunteer Opportunities” page on our website to find some of the opportunities available in Dubois County.