If you’re currently out of a job, it’s definitely worth considering taking up some voluntary work.
Despite the other benefits we’ll discuss below, volunteering will present an opportunity for you to use your time productively and get out of the house, rather than sitting around at home writing emails and combing through job applications that you’ve already probably combed through 50 times before.
I know job-seeking can be obsessive! I’ve been there.
In fact, a recent study found that over 80% of Hiring Managers prefer candidates with voluntary experience, over those with no such thing..
So whether you’re graduating college, returning to work after a long break, or you’re thinking about a complete career change, volunteering could be the perfect way to build up some experience and attract new opportunities and relationships.
Here are 12 reasons you should volunteer in order to boost your (paid) job search!
1. Experience, experience, experience
Experience is, of course, the obvious reason to volunteer, especially if you can get voluntary work in the industry you actually eventually want to work in.
Many people struggle with a catch 22 situation of not getting jobs because they “don’t have experience”, yet they are never able to “get experience” because they never get hired because they don’t have experience…
Frustrating, right? Luckily, volunteering gives these hopefuls a way to cheat the experience system and improve their skills.
2. Mental health
Being unemployed can be depressing. I’ve been there.
And staying stuck inside all day is going to bring you down even moreseo.
Volunteering gives you a place to go during the day and allows you to stay active and social throughout the week, easing any strain on your mental health.
Plus, being altruistic has been proven to improve your mood!
3. Discovering and assessing your skills
Volunteering will give you an opportunity to learn new skills, or remind yourself of skills you already have.
Sometimes, we can even surprise ourselves with how great we are when trying something new.
For example, you might find that you’re naturally wonderful at customer service, fundraising or care work.
Networking cannot be underestimated, as ‘who you know’ will often play a large part in your career and life journey.
Volunteering allows you to maintain a network of contacts (especially if you’re volunteering in your desired career industry) that may serve you in the near future.
Whether it’s other volunteers who may refer you to jobs or hiring managers who may keep you in mind for future positions, you can never have too many contacts in your network.
5. Filling the gaps
Employers can be a little suspicious when it comes to gaps on a CV, I’m afraid.
It is not uncommon to be quizzed about a gap in your cv at an interview, especially if it’s a particularly lengthy one.
Volunteering allows you to fill in this gap of time very nicely, keeping your cv neat and showing that you’re a hard-worker.
6. Look great
Volunteering experience shows that you’re proactive, hard-working and also generous.
You’re willing to give up your time to help other people.
If the company also happens to be ethically-minded, this will be even more impressive!
9. Get your foot through the door
Showing your skills, commitment and determination to a company while volunteering can often lead to full-time paid employment.
It gives you the perfect opportunity to get your foot through the door and make a brilliant impression.
10. Test the waters
If you’re thinking about starting down a new career path, volunteering may help you to come to a decision, without any real commitment.
In your spare time, you might volunteer within a certain industry, for example, and realise that it is not for you and that you do not want to work in it professionally.
If you’d like some tips on moving into a new industry, check out last week’s blog.
11. Build your confidence
Have you ever been rejected from 15 job interviews in a row? This writer has.
Facing constant rejection can be very taxing on your confidence, leaving you wondering what is wrong with you and your skillset.
Volunteering in a positive environment allows you to be reminded that your skills are valuable and that you’re just in a temporary rut.
If you get the opportunity to volunteer abroad, take it!
This is a great experience if you can get it and afford it; you’re essentially getting to see the world whilst amplifying your cv at the same time.
That’s two birds with one big stone!
Volunteering can be a fun and rewarding experience that builds your confidence and skills, as well as keeping you busy.
Hiring managers love to see volunteering experience on a resume, as it implies that you’re a good person who is dedicated and passionate about their career.
Just make sure that you have enough time to continue your job search while volunteering; you want to make sure you get paid for your hours eventually!
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