Upon graduating from college or applying for internships young people often worry about “filling their resume.” Later in their careers professionals struggle to fit the wealth of their experience on a single page. But budding careerists need to stretch their education and experience so they look their best on paper. Trust us: students and graduates with relevant volunteer experience will enjoy a better chance at their job of choice than those without.
Ask any human resources and professional development expert—volunteering is good for your career. More importantly, volunteering is good for your neighbors and community. Consider the following if you’re interested in how philanthropy and your career aspirations intersect.
When hiring authorities examine resumes they look for experiences that speak to your personality and especially your work style. Volunteering will give human resources specialists a glimpse at how you view and interact with the world. For example, a candidate who speaks at events for young people probably enjoys public speaking and teaching others. Consider volunteering opportunities that will develop skills you’ll need to achieve your career goals.
Friends at Work
Great friendships are nurtured by common interests. As C.S. Lewis said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What? You too? I thought I was the only one.” Volunteering is a wonderful networking opportunity. Help organizations whose volunteers and benefactors include people you admire. The people you meet while volunteering could help you land your dream job.
Many nonprofits are picky about their volunteers—but only out of necessity. For example, organizations that provide medical care need doctors and nurses to carry out their mission. Perhaps your professional skills would be put to good use by a similar organization. Others who take skills-based volunteering opportunities include teachers, lawyers, engineers and business professionals.
Back to Work
If you’re currently employed you can attest to the value most businesses place on philanthropic employees. Employees who volunteer represent their respective companies—it reflects well on your employer when you help others. And if you’re ready to go back to work after a long absence, consider volunteering to help you gain (or relearn) common workplace skills like typing.
We don’t mean to suggest that you or any other skilled volunteer shares their time and talents for selfish reasons. Rather, we offer this information to guide you as you select volunteering opportunities that will benefit you as well as the cause you support.