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Volunteer - Boost Your Career!

By Sally Benford posted 01-31-2019 05:14 PM


According to the most recent Bureau of Labor statistics, in 2015, more than 62 million Americans volunteered 7.8 billion hours worth an estimated $184 billion. And while this army of volunteers helps their communities and fellow citizens, they’re doing a lot more—they’re making connections, learning new skills and adding to their resumes. 

Volunteer.jpg‘Tis the season for volunteering. You lead a busy life, especially at this time of year. With families to care for and full-time jobs, it can be difficult to find time in your holiday—or everyday—schedule to help others. Yet, experts believe the benefits of volunteerism reach far beyond feelings of goodwill and kindness. Volunteering can also advance your career. Here are five ways that making a difference in your community can also make a difference in your life—and livelihood.

1. Develops new skills
There are many opportunities to help nonprofit organizations in your community, and some of those lead to skills that cross over to your career. For example, you might volunteer to give a motivational talk for a church or a youth group—you’ve just added public speaking to your resume skills. Perhaps you take on the task of leading a food drive or coordinating a neighborhood clean-up, which is an opportunity to learn project management.

2. Expands your network
When you volunteer, you make connections with like-minded peers. It’s a chance to build your network while doing good, and can lead to new opportunities. Younever know who you’ll be working alongside, so be open to the social aspect of volunteering. While you’re filling food boxes, sorting toys or building a home, you may meet someone who can mentor you, or even hire you in the future.

3. Builds confidence
Stephen Post, PhD, Founding Director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics for Stony Brook University School of Medicine and author of The Hidden Gifts of Giving says that finding an activity you’re passionate about gives you a sense of purpose. "Helping others not only benefits those we assist but is good for us, as well," writes Post. He says giving to others increases self-worth. When you have self-worth, you feel confident and perform better in your job and your life, in general.

4. Promotes a positive attitude
Sharing your knowledge with others creates lasting benefits for all. Just knowing that you are helping to make a difference in your community can make you feel good, which helps your overall mental health. When you volunteer, people are happy you’re offering your time, giving you a sense of achievement and a positive outlook on life.

5. Adds to your LinkedIn profile
You’re not volunteering for selfish reasons, but it can’t hurt to let people know that you’re engaged with your community. When you include volunteer efforts on your LinkedIn profile, it allows you to connect with others affiliated with that organization or in a similar field. It also impresses hiring managers who may seek you out based on your connection and commitment to the community.