Volunteer Work: Worth It…?September 25, 2017
Volunteer work is some of the most rewarding work you can do.
Normally, I’m all about getting paid for the work I do — and feel others (like you) should be paid as well. However, every once in a while, I feel compelled to volunteer. It’s good for the soul! And, you know what? It’s also good for your career.
Volunteer work has numerous benefits. If you’re considering volunteering: go for it. You won’t regret it.
It Looks Good on Resumes
Bosses love to see volunteer work on applicants’ resumes. In fact, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service, applicants who have volunteer work on their resumes have a 27 percent higher chance of getting hired. Especially if that volunteer work fills in a “gap” in their resume where they were out of work.
Volunteer work shows that you work well with a team. Very few volunteering positions are done alone. Nearly every place you can choose to volunteer at involves working with other human beings in some capacity. Recruiters love that.
In fact, 76 percent of recruiters reported saying that volunteer work on an applicant’s resume is important to them.
If your volunteer work translates directly into the industry you’re applying for, so much the better! Whether you were paid for obtaining those skills or not, your next boss will be overjoyed that you have them.
It Builds Confidence
Seeking out volunteer work takes initiative, and that kind of spunk is exactly what employers are looking for in employees. It shows you’re a confident problem-solver who isn’t afraid to get your hands dirty.
Even if you didn’t START as someone brimming with confidence, you’ll end up that way after a few weeks or months of volunteer work. It’s one of the known benefits of volunteering. You won’t be able to help it!
Through your volunteer work, you’ll level up your people skills (by working with others) and gain new work-related abilities. Learning new things is always a huge self-esteem booster — and that confidence will serve you well on your next job interview.
It Helps Your Community
Whether you’re helping families at a daycare or eldercare, helping schools and students through mentoring, or helping the environment by cleaning up the beaches or highways, volunteer work helps your community.
As such, having volunteer work on your resume will show your future employer that you’re willing to help THEIR community. After all, a business is just that: a small community.
As someone with volunteer work in your background, your future employer will see you as a better addition to their company’s culture. You’ll be welcomed into the business’ community/team.
It’s also a great opportunity for you to network and meet individuals with similar interests. This is especially valuable if you’re volunteering in an area related to your career choice.
It Helps Your Attitude
Attitude is important to employers, almost more so than aptitude in some cases. Fortunately, volunteer work can do wonders for your personality.
According to Psychology Today, volunteer work SUBSTANTIALLY decreases depression and eases symptoms of anxiety.
Bottom line? People who engage in volunteer work are just plain HAPPIER than those who don’t. And who wouldn’t love to add a happy employee to their team?
It’s Good for Your Mind, Body, and Soul
Volunteer work, great or small, makes a difference in the world. Being a part of that difference — for the better — would give anyone a good feeling. You get that “deep down” feel-good sensation that penetrates your very soul. Helping others ultimately helps YOU.
If you don’t believe in souls, then don’t turn away just yet. Volunteer work is also PROVEN to be good for your mind and your body.
As mentioned above, volunteering can affect your attitude and help with mental illnesses. It can also help with feelings of loneliness and isolation (since you’ll be working with other people), and can improve your cognitive (memory) functions.
In other words, volunteer work can improve your “mind” both physically and emotionally.
Still not convinced? Volunteer work also improves your body. According to this Harvard study, volunteering can lower your blood pressure and increase your overall lifespan. Not too shabby, right?
Not to mention many volunteer work opportunities have a physical component. You may find yourself shedding a few pounds if you volunteer working outdoors helping to tend a local botanical garden, for example. In my own life, I had one volunteer gig that involved carrying heavy boxes and full cans of paint to-and-fro on a construction site. You can bet your boots that I gained some serious muscle mass by the time the project was completed!
It’s Never Too Late to Start
Volunteer work is always available. All you need to do is seek it out.
For me, I checked in with friends who are avid volunteers and hopped on the projects they were working on. Already having a friend on site made it easy to get an “in” and was also comforting for me when I was first starting out. I mingled with new people, of course, but knowing I had a buddy on the premises if I needed them put me at ease.
In other cases, I simply went to places I desired to volunteer at — like my old elementary school — and asked them if they wanted my help. Most of the places I asked said “yes.” Schools, in particular, are always in need of tutors for students who are falling behind.
Depending on the area you live in, you might just happen along a group of volunteers out in the wild. If you see a group of individuals cleaning up the highway, for example, you can pull over and ask if they need an extra pair of hands. This doesn’t always work, but it never hurts to ask.
There are also several websites that can connect you with volunteer work opportunities. Try:
Some of those sites provide international volunteer work opportunities as well. Check them out!
Has your volunteer work experience ever helped you get a job? Share the article on Facebook and let us know — we’d love to hear from you!