5 unexpected career benefits of volunteering
It’s no secret that volunteering makes an invaluable contribution to society. Countless individuals rely directly on volunteers every day, and many more benefit from the experience of volunteering themselves. In fact, the voluntary sector added an estimated £11.7 billion to value added economic output in the UK last year, and has provided a priceless entry-point into competitive professions for hundreds of thousands of interns all over the world.
Here are a few ways that volunteering can help fast-track your career which you may not have taken into account.
Develop new skills
Volunteering is an essentially altruistic activity, in that you are giving up your time and effort for free. However, it can still be an incredibly rewarding experience nonetheless. Volunteering is a unique opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and take on fresh challenges that will stand you in good stead for the future.
Many voluntary positions even include an element of formal training which will equip you with professional skills and competencies that are highly sought after on the job market at a later date.
Motivation and achievement
Spending your time on a voluntary project gives you the opportunity to make a positive contribution to a cause that means something to you. This often provides volunteers with a unique sense of achievement as well as a renewed motivation to make the most of their time and talent.
In many cases, the enthusiasm and passion kindled by a voluntary placement can be what inspires people to greatness in other spheres of their life.
It is well documented that the sense of well-being that comes from volunteering can have an extremely positive impact in terms of improving self-esteem and providing a strong moral sense of purpose. But there is also a growing body of evidence to suggest that volunteering can have a dramatic impact on your physical health, too.
For those of us stuck behind our desks all day, volunteering in more active or outdoor roles during evenings or weekends can be vital for ensuring that we get out and about, and stay fit and healthy.
Volunteering is a really great way to meet like-minded people, make new friends, and also establish important contacts that can help you progress in your career. Even if you volunteer within a field far removed from your area of professional interest, you may be surprised how many new contacts can pop up with advice, recommendations, or introductions that give you a real career boost just when you least expected it.
Discover your passion
You can’t change jobs every day, but there’s nothing to stop you exploring the world of voluntary work to your heart’s content. In the process, you may find your hidden passion or true professional calling through volunteer work.