The Key to Advancing Your Career? Volunteer!
So you’re well aware what benefits volunteering has on your community and the world at large, but have you considered what’s in it for you and your career? What goes around comes around, and spreading all those good vibes around the volunteer clock can come back to you as some seriously good karma.
Whether you’re a high school student about to embark on your college journey, a recent graduate flailing about the job market for the very first time, or an employee standing somewhere further up the career ladder, putting in your time as a volunteer will put you a step ahead of the rest.
Here’s five reasons how being a volunteer can help advance your career.
1. Volunteering showcases your inherent skills
Anyone can be taught how to flip a pancake or operate a forklift, but there are certain skills that can’t be copy pasted from teacher to student. Soft skills such as empathy, mediation and being comfortable outside your comfort zone are qualities that will place you ahead of the pack. Volunteering provides an opportunity to develop different parts of your personality, to discover how you cope under pressure and in situations outside your norm, to learn to interact with people from all walks of life and to fine-tune your interpersonal skills. These are all qualities that any hiring manager will certainly pay very particular attention to.
2. Volunteering boosts your self-esteem
Recent studies show that “stress” is longer a word thrown about between parents at the dinner table, stress is now affecting us from a much younger age. Too often we get stuck in a rut of low self-worth and self-doubt, from comparing ourselves to others or failing to meet the demands placed on us by modern life. So how to combat this and boost our self-confidence instead? Volunteer! In addition to releasing all those feel-good hormones, giving back gives us a sense of purpose and placement in this world (something that high schoolers often struggle with).
The soul satisfaction from doing a good deed can elevate our mood, increase our productivity and give us the motivation we need to get ahead in our careers.
3. Volunteering expands your network
Not only is volunteering great for your skillset and your self-esteem, it’s a stellar way to grow your network too. By finding a cause you care about, you’re bound to meet like-minded people with similar passions and drives. Volunteering is the perfect environment to use your current skills, develop those new ones you’re after, and connect with people who are searching for those particular skillsets. You never know where these new connections outside your workplace may lead and what career opportunities could open up with each new person you meet and each new project you complete.
4. Volunteering shows you have initiative
There’s nothing managers like more than employees who demonstrate initiative, can think innovatively and creatively on their own, and can take the reigns of any task or project without the need to be micromanaged.
Putting your time and energy in as a volunteer shows that you have what it takes to work autonomously, to be a great leader and that you’re a go-getter who isn’t afraid to think outside the box and get creative in tackling tasks and solving problems. These qualities can easily be transferred from volunteer time to office time.
5. Volunteering improves your health
Research has proven that volunteering is not only good for the people you help, it’s good for your own health as well. Volunteering just a few hours a week can improve cognitive function, increase memory and heighten and sustain happiness levels. Giving a helping hand gives you the cognitive clarity and focus you need to perform optimally at the workplace and it boosts your mood, making you a key component of the company culture. All-in-all volunteering makes you an awesome-to-work-with person with the energy and optimal health levels to get the job done and to keep others motivated to do give their all.
Feeling psyched to advance your career by becoming a volunteer? Sign up to take part in one of our exciting opportunities in your community.