How Volunteering Can Help Your Career

Volunteering is one of those goals we have on our to-do lists, but often don’t get around to doing. Maybe we feel too busy or we get caught up in daily life and forget to make the effort. Here’s why you should consider making it a priority now.

Whether you’re an administrative professional in the thick of a job search, or currently employed and thinking about a career change, volunteering is a great way to explore your options and expand your professional network.

In addition to meeting potential employers and discovering jobs you may not have found otherwise, giving your time for a good cause can help you learn new skills and keep your existing ones sharp. As an administrative professional, your talents are broad, easily transferable, and coveted by organizations that rely on volunteers with office experience to keep operations running smoothly. Volunteer experience on your resume shows employers that you’re reliable, a strong multi-tasker and willing to take on new challenges.

Here are some of the specific benefits of volunteering, based on different professional situations:

If You’re Unemployed

Feeling stuck inside the seemingly endless routine of applying for jobs? Volunteering can give you a break from the monotony, while showcasing your expertise and amplifying your resume. It gets you out of the house, helps you maintain a regular schedule, and provides a place for you to network with other motivated and compassionate individuals. In addition to meeting people who may be able to pass on your resume, you can also develop a strong working relationship with your supervisor, who may be willing to be listed as a reference during your job search.

recent study conducted by the Corporation for National and Community Service found that volunteers have a 27 percent higher chance of being hired while they are unemployed than those who don’t volunteer. Who doesn’t want that advantage? Furthermore, in another study, a large percentage of hiring managers confirmed that a candidate’s volunteer experience plays a significant role in their decision. 

If You’re Currently Employed

You may be hesitant to volunteer because you think you won’t have enough time, but it's a misconception that it requires an extensive time commitment. Volunteer positions come in many different forms and can be flexible enough to fit any schedule.

Many nonprofits, such as Dress for Success, work closely with companies and their philanthropy efforts. Some employers even organize volunteer activities that their teams can participate in as a group. You may also consider supporting a professional organization, such as the International Association of Administrative Professionals, in a volunteer capacity if you want to show future employers that you’re committed to your field.

If You’re Looking to Advance Your Career

A great way to develop your skills and heighten your visibility in the company is by assisting coworkers who could use your help with a large project or to volunteer for a committee. For example, if you think you might like to focus your administrative talents in the area of finance, but don’t have direct experience, you might offer to help organize tax documents for the annual report, take notes during budget meetings or help with data entry. If you’re tech-savvy and want to boost your design portfolio, you may want to contribute to a website redesign project or offer to manage social media accounts.

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of volunteering is that it’s just as rewarding personally as it is professionally. Whether you want to develop a whole new set of administrative skills or explore a new line of work before you commit to a career change, you’ll be able to make a lasting impact on your community and your career, no matter what your passions are or how much experience you have.

Do you volunteer? Share your experience below.

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