Three Ways Volunteering Can Benefit Your Career

By Delyash Tsartsaeva

You can make a positive impact by volunteering locally or globally, but you can also benefit from it by expanding and enriching your career opportunities. My volunteer experience in my hometown, on campus, and internationally has positively influenced my life in many aspects. In this article, I would like to share how volunteering can create career advantages for you.

  1. You will connect to new people and expand your network

According to Indeed.com, volunteering is one of the best ways to network with like-minded individuals. Shared meaningful experiences can help you to build your network naturally. In addition, volunteering can get you a “foot in the door” if you engage in activities related to your career area. If you volunteer in a completely new field for you, you will be able to explore career options you haven’t thought about pursuing.

Personal example: People I met during my volunteering projects always had something in common with me, but at the same time they were from different walks of life, and many of them taught me lessons in a non-formal way.  Our conversations made me reflect on my career strategy and my mission in life.

  1. You will turn your knowledge into action and develop your skills.

As a volunteer, you can advance a variety of soft and hard skills. Some key soft skills you can develop are leadership, teamwork, planning, event management, and time management. You may also apply your knowledge of theoretical concepts in practice as a volunteer.

Personal example: After my graduation, I decided to take a course about social media content strategy, and I did it for fun, just as a hobby. When I was accepted for a project in the south of Italy in a small non-commercial organization, I had a chance to use my video editing skills to promote events and free English classes among local youth. It was a win-win situation, and this experience boosted my social media marketing skills.  I also learned how to work in a multicultural team, and it later helped me transition to working in a foreign environment for the long-term.

  1. Your resume will stand out.

Nowadays, many employers want to become more socially responsible, and they seek people who share similar values with them. The Deloitte Volunteer Impact Research states that 82% of recruiters are drawn to candidates with volunteering experience. Moreover, if you are early in your career, volunteering is a great way to start gaining professional experience. On our website, you can find resume samples, which you can draw inspiration from, and email us your resume for review.

Personal example: When I was a senior, I applied to different internships, and whenever I was invited for an interview, recruiters asked me to tell them more about the volunteer experience that I had written about in my resume.  This chance to highlight my curiosity, skills, and contribution to non-profit organizations gave me a competitive advantage. It was also a leg up on the competition for me when I applied for graduate schools.

4 volunteer opportunities you can explore:

  1. The Bennion Center offers service learning projects and weekly volunteering, including plenty of on-campus and off campus opportunities specifically designed for U of U students and community.
  2. Salt Lake City Sustainability provides a list of volunteer opportunities to protect the environment and get experience in sustainability projects in Salt Lake City.
  3. The United Nations volunteer portal offers online and international volunteering options.
  4. Worldpackers is a platform for volunteering all over the world.