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If you are considering volunteering your time, you may have more benefits to gain then simply feeling like a good citizen. Being a volunteer can provide:
- a sense of community involvement
- a feeling of satisfaction in helping others
- the opportunity to have fun working for an organization that you believe in
- it can also make your resume stand out
- impress an interviewer
- help you land a job
When volunteer experience is listed on your resume it is viewed the same as your paid work experience. In some cases, the volunteer position is more highly regarded than the paid work if the experience has led to a set of skills or knowledge that is useful in the position you are applying for.
Volunteer experience can get you in the door for an interview! It demonstrates desirable characteristics such as:
- Willingness to Work for Free - showing a strong work ethic and that the benefits you seek from your work are more personal to you than just financial gain.
- Desire to Help Others - showing you are a team player and work well with others.
- Developed Skills - volunteer work results in a set of useful skills even if it is not in the same field as the open position. For example, strong communication skills come from volunteering on a Crisis Hotline which is useful in many roles. If the skills are for the same industry of the job you are applying to, you now have knowledge others may not have. It also shows you are passionate about the work.
- Able to Time Manage - because you have the ability to fit volunteering into your schedule, it demonstrates that you are able to multi-task and have strong time management skills.
You may gain an extra edge over other qualified candidates and increase your chances of securing employment. Now you have the interview!
- make a lasting impression
- provide detailed examples of the work you performed in the volunteer position
- make the interviewer remember you over other candidates
- although you have not have gotten paid for your work, your skills are valuable
- demonstrate that you have gained skills they are looking for
Volunteer, not just because it helps others, but because it may help you advance your career.