Volunteering is a great way to help make a difference in your local community and the world around you. Did you know, however, that volunteering can also help your career? Here are several ways that volunteering can benefit you, while you work to benefit those around you.

Expand Your Network (Without Networking)

Hate to network? You’re not alone.  Traditional networking can be stressful, especially if you are an introvert. When you volunteer, you will automatically be exposed to an entire group of people you would never have met otherwise, without the pressure and artificial nature of a networking event. Are you at a soup kitchen? Are you volunteering at a 5K? The goal is to help others and not talk about the latest trends in your industry. Over time, you’ll develop real relationships with your fellow volunteers which will help you naturally expand your network of contacts.

Learn New Skills

Many nonprofits are short-staffed and look to volunteers to help with all manner of tasks.  Volunteer work is a great way to try new things and learn new skills, especially if you aspire to a management position one day.  Do you have an interest in event management? Do you want to learn how to negotiate contracts and sponsorships? A volunteer position is a low-pressure situation to cut your teeth. Working your way up to manage your own group of volunteers can be a huge asset when it comes time to apply for a leadership role in your career.

Boost Your Resume

Gaps in your resume can cause a great deal of anxiety because you will have to answer for that time during job interviews. If you are in between jobs or if you are a recent grad hunting for your first job out of school, volunteering is a great way to close those gaps of time. It gets you out of the house, keeps you active, and shows hiring managers that you are motivated and take initiative, even when you’re faced with less-than-ideal circumstances.  Since people will ask about your job, it’s a natural way to talk about that you are looking for something new.

Experience Personal Growth

Even if they like their jobs, not everyone has a job that they would consider “meaningful.”  Volunteering allows you to go out and make a difference and help to enact change in your community, no matter what it is you do from nine to five.  It also makes a difference in your own, personal growth. In fact, volunteering is good for your physical and mental health. Volunteers have a 20 percent lower risk of early death than people who do not. Developing a sense of purpose and making an impact in your free time can help you approach you work with a new sense of purpose and drive, as well, preventing burnout.

Increase Your Chances Of Getting A Job Offer

Listing volunteer work on your resume can help you make a good impression with hiring managers. According to LinkedIn, 41 percent of hiring managers consider volunteer work to be equal in weight to paid work, even if it is unrelated to your professional field. In fact, people who volunteer are 27 percent more likely to receive an offer than people who do not volunteer.

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