If you’re thinking about changing careers it’s often necessary to find a way to develop new skills. This is not always possible in your current position so doing volunteer work can be a fantastic way of breaking into a new industry or profession.
Even if you’re not planning to change careers, there are numerous personal benefits of volunteering. Including volunteer work on your resume not only demonstrates you have the required skills, it shows that you are passionate, have a positive attitude, are motivated by things other than money, and that you’re willing to help others. These are attractive attributes for employers.
Meeting others through volunteer work is the most common way people expand their network and such connections are invaluable for professionals. The health, psychological, and health benefits of volunteering should not also be underestimated.
Aside from personal gains, the benefits of volunteering for the community are immense. Although there are professional benefits of volunteering, the main motivations are normally entirely selfless.
The professional benefits of volunteer work
Just because volunteer work is unpaid does not mean that it is any less valuable. The skills you learn when volunteering are just as useful as those you learn in paid positions and including them on your resume is just as convincing for employers. Here are some of the professional benefits of volunteering.
Gaining career experience
Volunteering gives you the chance to gain work experience in your field. If you’ve just graduated or are applying for entry-level jobs, you can find yourself in a chicken-and-egg situation when it’s hard to get your first job in your desired field. However, volunteer work is easier to find. By getting that valuable first experience under your belt you become much more employable.
Trying out a new career
It can be difficult to know which career you want to pursue without actually trying it. Taking a full-time, paid position is a big commitment and skipping between jobs and careers too regularly will make it seem to employers that you lack direction. Doing volunteer work is a fantastic way of trying something to see if it’s what you want to do.
Though more affordable part-time courses which are emerging, the cost of education is generally getting more expensive. With this in mind, receiving free training can be as valuable, if not more so, than receiving a wage. Many organizations who use volunteers provide extensive training which can be invaluable in the long run.
Improves job prospects
Volunteer work improves your job prospects for two main reasons. Firstly, in a competitive job market, professional networking is essential and volunteering is a fantastic way of expanding yours. Getting a professional recommendation from someone can significantly increase your chances of getting a job. Secondly, employers look favorably on job applicants who have volunteer work on their resume. It makes a very positive impression.
How to list volunteer work on your resume
Should you include volunteer work on your resume? Resumes should be as concise as possible which means space is limited. You should include volunteer work on your resume if:
- The position demonstrates that you have skills which are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
- You are writing a student resume or ab entry-level resume and have limited experience.
- You have gaps in your work experience section on your resume to fill.
If you decide to add volunteer work to your resume you have options. If the experience is related to your career or to the position you’re applying for then you can include it in your work experience section. You should make it clear that it’s volunteer work by either including the word ‘volunteer’ in the job title or in brackets after the job title.
If the experience you gained is unrelated, you can include a ‘Volunteer Work‘ or ‘Volunteer Experience‘ section on your resume. However, if you have gaps in your work experience, you can use any voluntary positions to plug the gaps.
Many candidates use resume templates to produce professional-looking documents quickly. You should tailor your resume for each job application to meet the specific requirements of each one. Using a resume builder allows you to make quick edits.