5 Ways Volunteering Can Launch Your Dream Job

Instead of simply listing duties, describe a specific challenge you faced and how you overcame it. This demonstrates your problem-solving skills and initiative.
The Love Central - A happy volunteer The Love Central - A happy volunteer
Volunteering Can Launch Your Dream Job
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The path to your dream job isn’t always a straight line. Sometimes, the most fulfilling careers unfold through unexpected experiences. A research study conducted by Deloitte found that 82% of hiring managers are more likely to choose a candidate with volunteer experience, while 85% of those are willing to overlook other CV flaws when a candidate includes volunteer work.

As an ardent volunteer myself, I can confidently tell you over and over again that volunteering is a powerful secret weapon in your professional arsenal.  You think it’s just giving back to the community or adding a few lines to your resume; trust me, volunteering has a lot more to offer. 

So how can volunteering help you land your dream job? Read on to discover five surprising ways volunteering can transform your resume and empower you to stand out from the competition.

1. Skill Development: A Launchpad for Practical Learning

The world of work demands a diverse skillset. Volunteering provides a platform to develop and hone these skills in a real-world setting, beyond the confines of a classroom. Here’s how:

  • Transferable Skills: Communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and time management are crucial across industries. Volunteering allows you to put these skills into action. Coordinating a fundraising event hones communication and teamwork while managing a volunteer team develops leadership abilities.

  • Industry-Specific Skills: Aspiring marketers can volunteer for social media campaigns of non-profits, while future healthcare professionals can gain experience at clinics or hospitals. This targeted volunteering allows you to develop industry-specific skills, making you a more desirable candidate.

  • Technical Skills: Volunteering for tech-savvy organizations can expose you to new software or programs. Learning web design by volunteering to build a website for a local charity not only enhances your resume but also equips you with valuable technical skills.
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Image credit freepik

2. Network with Industry Insiders and Build Relationships

The power of networking can’t be overstated. Volunteering puts you in touch with professionals in your desired field or those with valuable connections. Here’s how it facilitates networking:

  • Meeting Like-Minded Individuals: Volunteer alongside professionals in your target industry. Strike up conversations, ask questions, and express your career aspirations. These connections can be invaluable sources of mentorship and guidance.

  • Building Relationships: Building rapport with your fellow volunteers and supervisors creates a network of people who can vouch for your work ethic and skills. Positive references from volunteering experiences can hold significant weight during job searches.

  • Informational Interviews: Leverage your volunteer network to conduct informational interviews. Speak with professionals about their career paths and gain valuable insights into your dream job. This will help you refine your goals and tailor your approach.

3. Discover Your Passion and Align Your Career Path

Your resume boasts your qualifications, but volunteering showcases your passion. Volunteering demonstrates your genuine commitment to a cause through:

  • Alignment with Dream Job: Volunteering in a field related to your dream job speaks volumes about your passion and dedication. This dedication sets you apart from candidates with similar qualifications but less demonstrable interest.

  • Going the Extra Mile: Take initiative and go above and beyond your assigned volunteer duties. This showcases your proactiveness, a highly desirable quality for employers.

  • Commitment Over Time: Long-term volunteer commitments speak volumes about your dedication to a cause. It shows employers you’re not just a one-time enthusiast but someone with genuine and sustained interest.

4. Building your Confidence through Stepping Up and Shining

Volunteering allows you to step outside your comfort zone and take on new challenges. This experience builds confidence, which is a crucial asset in the workplace.

  • Public Speaking: Volunteer opportunities that involve public speaking, like giving presentations or leading workshops, can significantly boost your confidence and communication skills.

  • Leadership Roles: Take on leadership roles within your volunteer organization. This empowers you to develop your decision-making and problem-solving abilities, demonstrating your potential to excel in leadership positions.

  • Overcoming Challenges: Volunteering often presents unforeseen challenges. Successfully navigating these challenges builds resilience and resourcefulness, qualities that employers highly value.

5. Enhance Your Personal Brand and Develop a Halo Effect

Volunteering not only benefits your career but also shapes your personal brand. It demonstrates your social responsibility, compassion, and willingness to contribute to the greater good. This creates a “halo effect,” making you a more attractive candidate to potential employers.

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Image credit freepik

Crafting a Compelling Volunteer Narrative

While listing volunteer experiences on your resume is important, it’s equally important to be able to effectively talk about them during interviews. Here’s how to craft a compelling volunteer narrative:

1. Focus on Achievements: Don’t just list your responsibilities. Highlight your accomplishments in your volunteer role. Did you spearhead a successful fundraising campaign? Did you develop a new training program that improved efficiency? Quantify your achievements whenever possible.

2. Showcase Transferable Skills: Connect your volunteer experiences to the skills required for your dream job. For example, if you volunteered for a community garden and managed a team of volunteers, highlight how this experience honed your leadership and communication skills, which are valuable assets in any professional setting.

3. Demonstrate Passion: Enthusiasm is contagious. Speak with passion about the cause you volunteered for and how it aligns with your career aspirations. This showcases your genuine interest and commitment.

4. Storytelling is Key: Weave a compelling narrative around your volunteer experience. Instead of simply listing duties, describe a specific challenge you faced and how you overcame it. This demonstrates your problem-solving skills and initiative.

Volunteering: Your Secret Weapon

Volunteering is more than just adding a line to your resume. It’s a strategic investment in your professional development. By acquiring essential skills, building a network, demonstrating passion, and boosting your confidence, volunteering empowers you to launch your dream job.

Volunteering is a two-way street. While you gain valuable experience and connections, you also contribute to a cause you believe in, making a positive impact on your community. So, don’t underestimate the power of volunteering. It might just be the secret weapon that propels you towards your dream career.

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3 months ago

Your blog is a shining example of excellence in content creation. I’m continually impressed by the depth of your knowledge and the clarity of your writing. Thank you for all that you do.

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