Matt: A recent survey by Robert Half found that 41 percent of U.S. professionals said they volunteer, resulting in these professional benefits:
- Enhanced wellness and productivity at work (61 percent)
- Expanding their professional network (57 percent)
- Gaining new skills (49 percent)
- Increase visibility for their company (35 percent)
“Volunteering also lets employers know that you are committed to a cause,” says Kwapick. “That passion and drive is something that employers want to see in their employees. It shows you are working to help others, create a better local community, and are committed to bettering yourself – both personally and professionally.”
It can also be a way for professionals to develop new and different skills, or an opportunity to show a different side of one’s personality that doesn’t come out during the busy workday. Consider it the non-networkers way to network.
“Volunteering is one of the best ways to network, which remains an essential activity for professionals at all levels,” says Kwapick.
Volunteering is an excellent way to bolster your resume, especially if you’re a new grad trying to gain experience or an established professional looking to switch careers or gain experience in a new field While a laundry list of volunteer experience on a resume isn’t going to get you the next job (unless it’s directly related to that job), it can show more about your personal side that employers covet. And, volunteering can help job seekers meet new contacts that could lead to a new opportunity. For those who may not be searching for a new job, volunteering helps professionals meet new customers and build business contacts. Oftentimes, people who volunteer are passionate about that cause and may have other interests in common.
“You never know when a professional you’ve met through volunteering may become a key contact for a job opportunity or new career path,” says Kwapick.
Four ways professionals can get started volunteering:
1. Check with your employer. Many companies have ties to nonprofit organizations or facilitate charitable activities. Other companies offer volunteer matching or grant programs for those employees who give their time.
2. Find an organization in need. Search for organizations you care about in your community (volunteermatch.org), and then contact them to see how they could use your help. Be sure to explain your particular skills and interests.
3. Invite your colleagues to join you. One person can make a big impact, but there could be power in numbers if your coworkers come, too.
4. Look beyond the holidays. There are community service opportunities available throughout the year, such as park cleanups and exercising for a good cause.