Volunteering is good for your community, and it feels pretty good, too. But did you know that it’s also good for your career?
It’s true. Whether your day job is a dream job or a nightmare, volunteering can help you make the connections and build the skills that make you successful at work. Even if your volunteer work is totally unrelated to your regular work, it can boost your career. Volunteering:
1. Builds Contacts
When you’re volunteering, you’re not only making new friends; you’re also making potential new business contacts. It’s not to say that you should be handing out your business card to everyone you meet, but keeping the basic details of your new friends straight can be a potential boon in the future. You’ll have a robust network to tap the next time you’re looking for a job, a client, a coworker or an intern.
When volunteering, you're not only making new friends; you're also making potential business contacts.
2. Builds skills
Many organizations are looking for someone just like you to dedicate a little time to their needs. Volunteer groups are often run just like companies, and could need a part-time volunteer accountant, a business manager, a marketer, or even just a reliable business-person. Other groups, like Taproot, use the skills of their members to provide pro bono help to worthy non-profits and social change organizations. You might be able to add to your skillset by helping to design a website, deliver a new brand identity/logo or more, through organizations like those.
3. Distracts you from a not-so-great day job
When your day job stinks, thinking about the kids/cats/old people that you’re going to help out after work can really keep your spirits up. Set your mind on what you’re going to do after work, and the workday will speed by. (Also, see above about contacts, skills, etc. and you might be able to find a better day job sooner, too.)
4. Adds to your resume
You know that spot you’re looking to fill on your LinkedIn profile or your barely one-page resume? Fill it up with volunteer work of all kinds. Try teaching kids in after-school programs, or sharing your skills with a hammer on weekends with Habitat for Humanity. Volunteer work is an excellent way to fill a gap on a resume.
5. Gives you something new to bond about
When you’re sharing stories around the water cooler, you’ll have something more to talk about than just waiting for more episodes of Game of Thrones. Be proud of the volunteer work you’re doing. Ask about what they’re doing, too. Your colleagues might have some great ideas for where you can spend your time. Either way, more sharing, more caring, right?
Tell Us What You Think
What organization do you volunteer with? Tell us your story in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.