When you volunteer, you share your skills and time with people and organizations in the community without expecting to be paid. Volunteering takes you right into the workplace, giving you a chance to build your experience and demonstrate your employability.
Volunteering gives you experience.
Most employers want workers who have workplace experience. This kind of experience shows employers that you can manage your time, complete your tasks, get along with others and make a commitment. Your volunteer record proves to an employer that you have workplace experience.
Volunteering helps you develop skills.
Volunteering gives you a chance to build on skills you already have and learn new ones. For example, as a volunteer you might be able to try out a new computer program, use a second language, develop customer service skills or practise speaking in public.
If you’re employed, you may want to look for volunteer opportunities that strengthen skills you have but are not currently using in your work. For example, if you work on your own in a parts warehouse, volunteering for site hospitality at a festival could help you maintain and improve your people skills.
Volunteering expands your network.
Your network is all the people you know and all the people they know. Every new person you meet becomes part of your network and may potentially connect you with other contacts and career opportunities.
Volunteering gives you the chance to meet new people and through them expand your network, opening up opportunities you might not have otherwise. Keep a list of the contacts you make volunteering—staff, board members, clients, other volunteers, suppliers and others. You never know who might help you and how.
Volunteering builds your confidence.
Maintaining your confidence is especially important if you’ve been unemployed for a while or discouraged in your search for a new job or career direction. Volunteering can help you feel active, useful and productive—all great ways to increase your confidence.
Volunteering helps you get to know yourself.
Knowing yourself—your skills, accomplishments, interests and values—is the foundation of career success. Volunteer experience can be a good way to learn more about yourself and your potential to grow and develop. It also gives you a chance to find out how other people view you and your strengths.