Wednesday, June 7

How volunteering can boost your career


PEOPLE are often spurred to do volunteer work by a desire to make a contribution to a particular cause they feel passionate about.

Their efforts make an enormous difference, and it’s not just the organisations that reap the benefits. The volunteers themselves are giving a boost to something they may not even realise – their career.

Hiring managers almost always look positively on people who are involved in some kind of volunteer work, as they understand that it improves individuals both professionally and personally.

So if you’re looking for ways to strengthen your resume there are a number of reasons you should consider doing volunteer work – not only are you giving back to your community, but you are also making yourself a more valuable employee. Here are some of the positives you gain from giving your time for free to organisations in need:

– Applying existing skills/Developing new skills. Immersing yourself in an organisation allows you to utilise your talents. If you have experience in marketing, for example, you can help with promoting them or supporting their fundraising efforts. You can also learn new skills by working in areas you are less familiar with. You may even discover some talents you didn’t know you had.

– Developing confidence. Becoming part of a team can be great for building your confidence, by working at and succeeding at something you may never have done previously. Working within a group also

helps strengthen your communication skills, and also helps you to become a more critical thinker.

– Networking. We’ve discussed the importance of networking in earlier columns, and volunteering presents an ideal avenue for this. When you’re searching for a job, it’s often a case of who you know, not what you know, that will help give you an advantage. If you’re volunteering in your industry of choice, you can develop professional relationships with people who may be able to provide a valuable reference for you in the future, or even open some doors for you as you look for a job.

– Exploring career options. If you’re a student, you can use a volunteering opportunity not just to start working on your professional network, but you can also use it to look at potential career options. For example, if you love animals, you could volunteer at a veterinary clinic to learn about the day-to-day role of a vet and whether that is something you would want to pursue. You will gain a much better understanding of the job than you would from just reading about a particular profession.

– Helping others is good. By offering your services for free, it demonstrates to potential employers that you not only care about a particular issue, but that you also show initiative and commitment. Simply put, helping others is a good thing for everyone.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.