Volunteering as a career advancement strategy is so underrated. We often spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on seminars and courses to sharpen our skills which might not always be effective. Since we are always complaining about how busy we are to engage in meaningful activities, why not volunteer? You get to contribute to the society while honing your skills! No doubt, the first thing that comes to mind about volunteering is labour intensive work. But did you know that you can also contribute your skills to nonprofits? Being involved in planning a volunteer project or liaising with donors and sponsors are part of the ‘backend’ work that volunteers can do! Read on to find out how volunteering can benefit you and your career.
Learn And Hone Valuable Skills
Looking for a career switch or new job opportunities? Lacking the skills to make the switch? Try volunteering. A nonprofit functions just like any other organisation. They need people to run the organisation to benefit the community and sustain the volunteering efforts. Think finance, marketing and leadership roles! While you might not be paid for your time and effort, the skills gained via hands-on experience is invaluable. Alternatively, if you are looking to improve your skills, lend your expertise to these nonprofits! Volunteering will provide the stepping stone you need to advance your career.
Develop A Sense Of Purpose
If you are confused about the direction of your life or your career goals, volunteer your time! Volunteering allows you to dip your toes into something new. You get to try out different roles and skills in a low-stress environment. Always wanted to try coding or designing? Go for it! Engaging in volunteer projects also gives you a clearer picture of your strengths, weaknesses and interests. This can give you a better idea of your goals and career.
Expand Your Network
Don’t we all hate the awkward pauses and the constant pressure to keep the conversation going during networking events? Who needs networking events and LinkedIn when you have volunteering? This is an easy and non-threatening way for you to forge genuine connections. People from all walks of life give their time and energy to causes they are passionate about, so you get the chance to interact with people you might not meet on a daily basis. It helps you gain industry insight and who knows, you might even meet your future boss or colleague!
Boost Your Health
Research has shown that volunteering is beneficial for your body and mind. Those who volunteer regularly have lower mortality rates and are less likely to develop depression. No matter how introverted you are, you can’t deny the benefits you get from meaningful social interactions. Furthermore, the ‘feel good’ emotions you have after volunteering can help to counteract feelings of stress and anxiety you face at work. If you are involved in more ‘physical’ forms of volunteering, like meals on wheels, you can get a good workout from it!
How To Volunteer
Excited to start your volunteering journey and advance your career? Considering these points first:
- Choose a cause that you are passionate about: Be it animals or children, know what you are interested in before volunteering. It keeps you from feeling burnt out and gives you something to look forward to.
- Start small: Rather than committing five hours a week and thinking that volunteering is such a chore, be reasonable! You are still making a difference even if you can only contribute one or two hours a week.