When is the last time you volunteered to do something without thought of reward? It’s probably been a long time. Most people feel that their schedules are so cram-packed already that there is no way they can fit in volunteering. It’s funny, though, that we can usually find time to take a course or attend a seminar that benefits our career.
Did you know volunteering in the community can be a great advantage to your career progression in many ways? Not only do hiring managers pay attention to the Civic Activities section of your resume, but employers look at what their employees are doing in their off-time when considering advancement.
Have you noticed how companies all have some sort of pet non-profit organization they support? Some have fund-raising drives for the American Cancer Society or the United Way. Some support children’s charities and local hospitals. Some raise money for environmental organizations. Why do they do this? For the PR value of course!
Volunteering can serve as your own personal PR campaign, but more importantly it can benefit you personally. Here’s a few ways that volunteering can be of benefit not only to the organizations for which you volunteer, but for your career:
Networking. When you volunteer, you meet people who are outside your regular circle of friends and colleagues. You extend your network by volunteering.
Warm fuzzies. When you are having a really bad week at the office and the boss is on your case, the feeling of warm fuzzies you get when you read to a child at the local children’s hospital puts all that in perspective. You perform better in your job when you can gain perspective.
Opportunity to learn new things. Have you ever been on an archaeological dig? Have you ever handed out water to disaster victims? Have you ever helped the elderly or indigent with their taxes? Volunteering provides opportunities to expand your horizons and skill set.
There are tons and tons of opportunities to volunteer available everywhere. You don’t have to devote a great deal of time, but an hour a week won’t throw your schedule off and the reward you get will be tremendous.