There are many reasons to volunteer, not only does it make you feel fulfilled and positively impacts your community or a cause close to your heart, it can be an invaluable way of progressing your career. Here are my ten top reasons for volunteering.
1. If you have been unemployed for some time and need to update your skills and confidence level, volunteering can be a great way to do that.
2. Volunteering can provide you with access to great new experiences, gain a new interest or hobby or develop an interest in a worthy cause.
3. Volunteering can impact positively on your mental health and well being. By connecting with your local charities, or community you can meet new people and friends to help you feel more connected to your locality. This can be especially beneficial if you have recently moved to a new area or are from a different country or culture.
4. Volunteering can offer you the opportunity to try out a career you have never done before but would love to try. You may have worked in a corporate setting for many years and have a desire to use your caring skills to support others. For example facilitating young people, working with disadvantaged groups or working with children or adults with special needs.
5. Volunteering can help you to inspire others with your enthusiasm, energy, experience, skills and talents. This could be working as a mentor for young people, teaching children new skills and inspiring others to achieve success.
6. Volunteering can have a positive impact on your social well being. By connecting with others you can feel less socially isolated from your community and feel a sense of purpose and fulfilment in turn increasing your confidence levels.
7. If you are not qualified in the area you would like to get a job in, volunteering is positive way to increase your work experience and demonstrate your commitment to change career or job. It also can be added to your Curriculum Vitae for employers to review.
8. Volunteering may help you get additional qualifications, obviously after you demonstrate commitment to the organisation you are volunteering for. This may include organisational specific training such as safeguarding if you are working with vulnerable adults, first aid, customer service, facilitation training etc. It can be really interesting to undertake volunteer training but it will depend on the size, type of organisation, funding and client group.
9. Volunteering can help you build up your credibility and showcase your strengths and commitment to prospective employers, you may well end up with a paid role with the organisation you are volunteering for. There are many organisations that recruit directly from their volunteer pool or team.
10. Volunteering consistently and well can provide you with a much needed excellent reference for future employment. This can be especially true if you have not worked for anybody for some time. Going back five or ten years to a previous employer for a reference may not be viewed well by a prospective employer.
Having volunteered previously and worked in the voluntary and community sector for over 20 years myself, I can highly recommend this sector for a wonderful array of positive and challenging experiences and personal growth, as you are exposed to people from all walks of life and communities. This helps increase your understanding of others and builds your ability to empathise and be supportive in a non judgemental and kind way.