How volunteering can help you earn your next job

It’s the time of year when everyone is focused on giving, so what better time to consider volunteering your time and energy to a worthy cause?


Altruism aside, volunteering provides many benefits to boosting your career and could earn you your next job. The Wall Street Journal stated that in a survey of 202 human-resource executives, skilled volunteer work makes job applicants look more appealing to hiring managers. Another survey conducted by TimeBank showed that among 200 of the United Kingdom’s leading businesses, 73 per cent of employers would recruit a candidate with volunteering experience over one without and 94 per cent of employees who volunteered to learn new skills had benefited either by getting their first job, improving their salary or being promoted.

Here are some more benefits that volunteering can provide.


Builds relationship skills

Volunteering brings together people from all walks of life, so getting involved allows you to meet and engage with new and diverse groups of people. This develops a number of skills including relationship building, communication skills, conflict management and teamwork. Connecting with people from different backgrounds also exposes to new perspectives and approaches.


Expands your network

There are many talented and smart people involved in non-profit organisations, whether that is at a Board level or at the coalface. Having the opportunity to work with well-connected and experienced people can accelerate your learning as well as providing you with an invaluable network of people that you may not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. 


Helps to reinvigorate (or redirect) your career

Thinking of a career change? Volunteering is ideal way to explore new avenues. If you have a passion for the environment but are working in IT then why not volunteer at your local coastal watch or Surfrider chapter? Volunteer opportunities aligned with your existing skill set – like providing book keeping support if you’re an accountant - are also a great way to extend your existing work experience, meet other people in your field and gain further insight into your chosen career path.


Shows your interests outside of work

Potential employers pay attention to your interests outside of work. Volunteering can provide insight into the activities that you get involved in and indicate a good work-life balance. Showing what you’re passionate about and how it aligns with your chosen career path will also go a long way to finding a great role.


Signals initiative and commitment

Regular volunteering demonstrates a commitment and dedication to supporting a cause. Choosing to give your time and skills also indicates initiative, something that prospective employers highly value. Involvement with community groups can also increase your awareness about local needs and interests.  


Builds confidence

Volunteering increases self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth – not to mention providing a healthy dose of accomplishment and satisfaction. When you feel good about yourself, you’re more likely to have a positive view of your future goals, which puts you in good stead when job hunting, and can also keep you motivated in existing roles.


Hones your skills and develops new ones

Just because volunteer work is unpaid doesn’t mean the skills you’ll use will be rudimentary. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to hone important workplace skills like problem solving, project management and prioritisation. It also offers a hands-on training program allowing you to build on existing skills and can offer you the opportunity to try out new skills before applying them at work.


Keeps you healthy

Volunteering is good for your health and helps you stay physically healthy - studies have shown that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who don’t. Volunteering has also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain and heart disease. Reducing the risk of depression is another important benefit of volunteering. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps to develop a support system, which protects against stress and depression when experiencing challenging times.


Makes you happy

Volunteering cultivates happiness. Researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness and found the more people volunteered, the happier they were. Among weekly volunteers, 16 per cent felt ‘very happy’ — this hike in happiness was comparable to an income of $75,000–$100,000 versus $20,000.


Keen to get involved?

To find out more about volunteering options, start by checking out:

Posted by: Jaclyn Knight, on December 20, 2015
Categories: Articles