When people think of volunteer work, they often think about unpaid work that is unrewarding. But for some, it can potentially be a method to learn new skills and get some experience. For example, volunteering to be a hospice care nurse can be an excellent way for a nursing student to get practical experience in their future career. Considering that there is always a demand for manpower, volunteer work is an easy way to get experience. Besides that, there are other things you can gain from it.
Start a Professional Network
One of the important things you have to remember when it comes to personal advancement is that it is sometimes who you know than what you know. Volunteer work gives you that advantage by letting you meet new people. It can be surprising who you see do volunteer work. They come from all walks of life and getting to know them can help build up your network of acquaintances. You might even develop friendships that can help you in your professional growth.
Besides that, wherever you volunteer, the higher-ups will be looking at you closely. They often appreciate volunteers who give it their all and do good work. You can use this to your advantage when you need references. It also doesn’t hurt that they might even mention you to their colleagues as someone to watch out for.
Learn By Experience
The problem with a lot of training and education that people get is that all they have is book learning. It is very different to see what you’re learning about in action. For careers that allow for volunteering in professional operations, this is a great way to put all you learned into action. This can apply to jobs ranging from journalism to mechanical work. Some operations have summer internships so that you can get some hands-on experience in the field.
For example, you can volunteer to teach young children. This can be a great move for those who want to be teachers in the future. It gives you an idea of what to plan for and a taste of what working full-time with children can be like.
Develop Soft Skills
Volunteer work also allows you to develop many of the “softer” skills that they don’t teach in class. Most of the time, you develop these skills when you are on the job. But that can be too late for you. With volunteering, you get an advantage in working the job. This can mean faster advancement for you as your superiors praise your better performance.
Some things you can learn during volunteering include being professional, better communication skills, and even problem-solving skills. For example, a lot of jobs value independent thinking as this allows employees to work without management looking over their shoulders every few minutes. If your bosses can trust you to do your job, then you are sure to have a bright professional future.
Another important soft skill that you can develop is proper time management. Volunteers usually have limited time to do their jobs because of the press of work. With better time management, you can be sure to get your work done on time. It can be surprising how many new employees struggle with it.
Looks Good On Your Resume
Volunteer work also looks great on your resume. When a potential employer sees it listed, you will likely impress them. Expect to get some questions about your volunteer work. Prepare for this in your interviews and be clear about what you learned from the experience.
Employers love former volunteers because they are usually easier to train and integrate into the current team. Additionally, being a volunteer tells something about your personality. Not everyone does it and it hints that you have the drive and willingness to do hard work, even with zero pay. If you get glowing recommendations from your supervisors, your potential employers will be thinking of what you can do if you received a salary. Overall, this can increase your chances of getting the job greatly.
When you volunteer for a job, you learn how to do it right. Many new employees hesitate to their job because they are not sure. With your volunteer experience, you have the confidence that you are doing the right thing. This confidence translates to higher productivity and performance which your employer will appreciate.
With all the benefits that volunteer work can give you, you should seriously consider setting aside some time for it. This is especially important if you are a student or hope to change careers. With it, you can potentially get a foot in the door in your preferred career. A little hard work now can ease your professional development in the future.