If you are engaged in a job search, you probably know about volunteering and how it can help give you a leg up in getting a job. But, while many job seekers may see volunteer work as something nice to have on the resume, they may not realize how important it is and how much of a boost it can give to your career in different ways.
In fact, three-fourths of all career counselors say that having volunteer experience will increase your chances of getting the job you want.
What are the benefits of volunteering? Here are a few.
1. Finding work you like
You may be thinking about applying for a certain job or a career change but may not be sure it’s really for you. Volunteering for similar kinds of work will help you to decide whether it is really something you would enjoy doing. Volunteering gives you the opportunity for exploration.
2. Boosting your career
Volunteering will help you to hone your skills and help you to learn new skills. Through volunteering you will also meet new people, helping you to expand your professional network.
And, if you continue volunteering over a longer period of time, your responsibilities will likely grow, which will also help your career. Moreover, volunteering in other countries is something that will really impress hiring managers.
In fact, if you have done significant volunteer work that required the use of your professional skills and knowledge, some career experts advise not even listing it under volunteer work but under a heading such as consulting or freelance work, spelling out the circumstances, what you did, and the result.
3. Helping in the job search
Almost two-thirds of hiring managers ask about volunteer experience during job interviews. They believe it is important and look specifically to see if job candidates have done it. It shows that a job candidate is dedicated to his or her job and has more motivation. Hiring managers see it as an indication of passion, leadership ability and problem-solving ability.
During the interview, candidates need to stress how the skills they learned or used in volunteering are transferable to the particular job they are applying for.