When it comes to measuring the success of our careers, we often focus on financial benefits. But more and more, many of us want to feel we’re making a lasting difference in the world.
One of the most effective ways to achieve that? Volunteering.
Whether you want to help the homeless, save the whales or advocate for children in developing countries, there is a nonprofit or community organization that would love your time, expertise and energy. The benefits of volunteering flow in both directions; not only can you help others, but you will gain valuable skills that will assist you throughout your career.
If you’ve never considered volunteering, here are six reasons why you should:
Fuel Your Passion
People volunteer because they’re passionate about a cause, and they want to make a difference in the world around them. The bonus is when you’re passionate about a cause, you’re also more likely to love the work, go the extra mile and inspire others to get involved, too.
Volunteering uses your knowledge and skills to help others. It strengthens communities and, in many cases, can help those who are disadvantaged and helpless.
Find Your Tribe
You will be encouraged and inspired by working alongside people whose ideals and values align with your own, and you will meet a diverse range of people from different backgrounds. You never know where these connections might lead. We often hear stories of volunteer colleagues turning into valuable networking contacts, employee referrals, mentors, and more.
It’s Good for Your Health
Volunteering Australia reports that “82 percent of volunteers were delighted, pleased or mostly satisfied with their lives, compared to 75 percent of non-volunteers.” Studies have also shown that volunteering is great for your mental health, promoting feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Yes, serving others is good for your health.
Gain Valuable Experience
When you volunteer for a nonprofit, you will get the chance to develop your skills in a unique way. Most nonprofits operate on very tight budgets and rely on volunteers to achieve lofty goals. So you may find yourself taking on challenges and being stretched in ways you never expected. Perhaps you may lead a project team, organize a fundraiser or coordinate with other volunteer organizations — all which look great on your resume.
Add to Your Resume
Speaking of adding volunteer work to your resume: LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman says, “In a recent survey on LinkedIn, 42 percent of hiring managers stated they consider volunteer work equivalent to full-time work experience. 20 percent said they’d hire someone because of their volunteer experience.” No doubt: volunteer work looks great on a resume.
What are you waiting for? Start volunteering, help change the world – all while building your confidence and career!
About the Author: Rebecca Jee is a writer for Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading online education providers. She has also been an editor, graphic designer, photographer, musician, crafter, food consultant, massage therapist – you name it, she’s done it. Rebecca considers herself “multipassionate”, and loves helping people find what they’re passionate about, too. She created a website and diary called Everyday Gratitude to encourage others to reflect on what they’re thankful for.