If you’re new to the workforce or changing fields, you find it hard to get hired. It seems like there are always people out there more qualified and with more experience than you. And while you could take a job out of your area of interest, you’d rather find another way to get the experience you need so that you’re more hireable to employers.
By giving your time to a company or nonprofit that needs your skills, you reap multiple benefits.
1. You Ramp Up Your Skills
If your resume is still a little thin, volunteering is a great way to enhance your current skills to position yourself as an appealing job candidate. Let’s say you have a degree in public relations. Agencies feel you don’t yet have enough experience to interact with clients, but if you volunteer to do PR for a nonprofit, you get the opportunity to write more, interact with the media, plan events, and represent a brand on social media. That already makes your resume look better.
2. You Get to Meet (the Right) People
While your goal in volunteering shouldn’t be to directly get a job with the company you work for pro bono, it can happen. And even if that company doesn’t need you, the people you impress there might be able to refer you to contacts who are looking to hire.
3. You Learn New Skills
In addition to boosting what you already know, volunteering can introduce you to new tools and skills you didn’t already have. Consider it on-the-job training, without the pay. Maybe you’ve been curious about an email marketing platform, but didn’t want to invest in paying for it just to gain the skill. If you volunteer for a company that uses it, you get the opportunity to learn how to use it and add that skill to your resume.
4. You Can Fill in the Resume Gaps
Hiring managers often raise an eyebrow when there’s a noticeable time gap between jobs. If you’re simply trying to find a job during that gap, volunteering can make it look better. It shows that you’ve been proactive in trying to find a job and better yourself professionally.
5. You Can Feel Good
The altruistic purpose of volunteering shouldn’t be overlooked here. By giving your time, you can help organizations or groups that you feel an affinity for. Volunteering about a cause you are passionate about can help you feel like you’re making a difference.
How to Start Volunteering
Convinced that volunteering will help you find a job? Start by being realistic about the amount of time you can commit. It’s better to under commit to, say, once a week, than to promise you’ll help every day and not be able to do so. And keep room in your schedule to continue the job search, and to go on interviews, as that is still your number one focus.
Some places to get started to find volunteer opportunities in your local region.