How Volunteering Can Help You Land a Job

By Ian Acosta on March 9, 2017
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Volunteering is a tremendous resume builder. Not only that, it is just a great way in general to help others, your community, and yourself. More and more, recruiters and companies are looking for resumes with volunteer experience to demonstrate certain unique traits in a potential prospect.

What are they? Selflessness, kindness, teamwork, and empathy. Companies want to work with people who have a great attitude and mindset with which to work. Volunteering and leading also go hand in hand and I am sure you know how much companies value leaders.

Here are some more detailed ways volunteering can help and some ideas of opportunities for volunteering.

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Expanding your network

Through volunteering, you can meet many people from various backgrounds and personalities. From sharing your own personal knowledge and experiences, you can learn and broaden your horizons from others as well. In addition, volunteering is a great place to network at whichever organization or club you choose to help.

When asking for references, you can not only write down people from your work life but also a supervisor or coordinator from a volunteer organization, which can give a recruiter an in-depth look into who you are as a candidate away from the workplace. Where are some places to volunteer and work with many people? Habitat for Humanity, Boys and Girls Club, and Boy Scouts are all great organizations to work with as a team of people toward a common goal.

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Learning new and transferable skills

Whether or not in school, there are always opportunities to learn. Through volunteering, you can learn a skill or two that can be applied in a current job, internship, or even future position. For example, if you volunteer at a local soup kitchen or shelter, you may learn a thing or two about service, friendliness, and attention to detail that comes with serving others.

In addition, you can share your skills with the organization you are helping. For example, if you have research experience through school or a previous internship, look to help a local organization or nonprofit that could benefit from your due diligence on a certain issue.

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Showing passion for a cause

Where you volunteer can speak volumes on your resume. Choosing a nonprofit or organization dedicated to a specific cause can let a recruiter or other future employer know just what causes you truly care about. For example, volunteering for a cause that promotes and encourages protecting the environment through certain events and initiatives is a great addition to any resume.

However, volunteer for a cause you actually feel strongly for. Do not volunteer just to add some fluff to your resume. Recruiters will ask about the experience and what you learned from it. Do anything you do with passion and a cause. It will reflect in your personality and your impression on a future employer.

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Improving personal motivation

If you are one of those people who feels good from doing good with others, volunteering should be an experience to seek out. Use helping others as a key motivator to help yourself succeed at whatever you choose to do. Especially in hopes of applying for a job, motivation is key. When you do inevitably get an interview, share with your interviewer your reasons for volunteering and what has got you to this point in your career.

Be confident in yourself and why you chose to help in the ways you have. If explained correctly and concisely, recruiters will identify a team player and a person who holds their motivation strongly.

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Ideas for volunteering

Strapped for ideas on how to get out there and help? Here are a few: mentoring, arts, tutoring, and coaching. For mentoring, think about joining Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. This gives you a great opportunity to be a mentor to a young person who really needs it. Through mentoring, you can share your life experiences, lessons, teachings, and valuable advice to a younger person who would benefit from it greatly.

To volunteer in the arts, reach out to your local community center. They typically have craft shows, plays, or musicals that could always use a helping hand or two. Tutoring is a great way to demonstrate leadership and experience while also helping teach someone who really needs it. To get involved in tutoring, look to your major’s department. They typically have opportunities for students who need tutoring. Not only will you reinforce your knowledge, it is a great way to pass it on to someone else.

A coach is or has been a very influential person in many people’s lives. Why not have the opportunity to be that to someone as well? Reach out to a sport or club that you were a part of in the past. Coaching is a great opportunity to be a great mentor and teacher to many.

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