‘Do you have any volunteering experience?’.
You may have been asked this question in an interview, or seen it in a job application form. And you might be wondering if having volunteering experience on your resume helps at all. We think it does. Here’s why you should volunteer at your local NGO, or anywhere, really.
1. It shows character:.
Volunteer work is basically, you offering your time, or expertise or just help for free. This can be a signal to your future employers that money and accolades are not the only thing you chase after. You like helping people too. It shows that you care about that community that you’re involved in.
2. It shows initiative:.
Since volunteer work involves you taking the time and energy to help others out, it shows initiative. Ideally, nobody can force you to volunteer. You volunteer only because you want to. It can be indicative of a certain amount of independence as well. Employers don’t have to egg you on all the time, you’re perfectly capable of taking initiative and getting things done. If you’re fresh out of college, it can show employers that you had interests outside of your studies.
3. You can learn new skills:.
Volunteering is all about being available to those who might need your help. You can either improve skills you already have, or you can develop entirely new ones. For instance, an engineer volunteers his time to planning and hosting a fundraiser for his local NGO every year. Planning an event takes considerable amount of energy, good communications skills, and great interpersonal skills. An employer can infer all this from just his volunteer work.
4. It helps search for work:.
Maybe you’re out of a job right now. And you’re volunteering to try fill your time with some productive work. Volunteer. Network with the other volunteers at the NGO. Maybe they know of a job opening that might be perfect for you. Or perhaps the NGO itself has an opening that you’d be perfect for. You never know.
5. It can help you find what and who you are:.
Maybe you just left a high-pressure job, and you’re wondering what next. How about volunteering abroad? Help out a community, learn the local language, immerse yourself in the culture. Volunteering experiences can really reveal who you are to yourself, and might even help you find an entirely new career path.
Hiring managers value volunteer experience. But, not having it on your resume isn’t a deal breaker. The other parts of your resume would have to shine just a little bit more, than of those with volunteer experience.