Career-savvy professionals know that volunteer work can be a great way to boost a career. While the idea of working without pay may not seem instantly appealing to everyone, there are plenty of reasons why volunteer work is worth a lot to your career prospects in the longer term.
Volunteer work looks great on any resume
If you are between jobs, a volunteer role can be a great boost to your job search activities. Adding volunteer work to your resume shows a great work ethic and a strong sense of social responsibility. These are key attributes that employers will be looking for and are transferable across all industries. Use volunteer work to demonstrate your potential level of commitment to a future employer.
Pick up new skills, develop old ones
If you are trying to find a new role, volunteer work can help plug a skills gap quickly and without fuss. If you need experience working with the public, for example, unpaid work can offer this opportunity. Voluntary unpaid work covers a host of different roles and working environments. It can provide exposure within a certain industry or market in a way that it might otherwise take much longer to achieve. It's a less competitive environment, too, as employers don't need to consider the costs of employment. If you have been out of a job for a while, volunteer work is a great way to ease back into the world of full-time work, too.
Lots of networking opportunities
You might be surprised how good unpaid work can be for making new contacts and creating opportunities through networking. Managers and leaders within many volunteer organizations are often well-connected and can help expose you to a host of different opportunities. A short assignment on a voluntary basis can often lead to a much longer project or full-time role, which may be paid. In terms of making new connections, unpaid work can be surprisingly productive.
Helps you think about what's next
Unpaid work can be rewarding in ways that you may not expect. If you are considering a career change and don't really know what you want to do next, volunteer work can give you the time and opportunity to think about it properly. You can try new roles, meet new people and experiment with different working conditions before you make the commitment of a fully paid, permanent role. The lack of commitment in volunteer work can work to the advantage of both the employer and the employee.
Volunteer work can prove to be a real boost to your career. Look beyond the immediate drawback of working without pay, and consider the longer-term, nonmonetary benefits of working this way.