BY MAX WOOLF
You want to know if volunteering is worth a shot. You want to know if volunteer work can make employers throw job offers at your feet like rose petals once you graduate from college.
Basically—you need proof you won’t be counting Angola colobus monkeys in Kenya for nothing.
You’re a quick scroll-down away from learning what volunteer work can do for your future career.
Benefits of Voluntary Work for College Students
Volunteering Makes Finding Your First Job a Breeze
Picture this: you’ve just graduated from college. A nice grad cap sits lonely on your desk.
Now—the pressure is to land your first entry-level job. Otherwise, you’ll have to take the nuclear option and move back in with your parents.
Problem? It’s Catch-22—to find a job (you know, the one where the boss doesn’t make you want to eat bubble wrap), you need experience.
That’s when volunteer work comes in.
One of the greatest things about volunteering is it helps pad out an entry-level resume and let hiring managers and recruiters know you’re a solid candidate. In fact, as many as 76 percent of career advisers argue that it can significantly improve your chances of getting a job if you have volunteer work on your resume.
So—if you set your best foot forward to get volunteer experience, it can propel your early employability chances.
Volunteering Makes You Insanely Well Connected
Chances are, the word networking already gives you the willies. Admittedly, it’s a term that’s been abused and overused in recent years.
But—according to a LinkedIn study, a staggering 85 percent of job seekers find a job via networking.
Why? When a company staffer refers a connection, the hiring process gets less expensive and a lot faster, which is good for business. That’s because there’s a person that can vouch for a potential new hire.
Volunteering is a powerful networking tool that lets you meet new people: other volunteers, full-time employees, and even board members.
What’s more, unlike networking at conferences and events, volunteering jobs enable you to work with these people side by side in real-life situations. As a result, you’re more than just a person they met and immediately forgot.
Instead, you become their first-line connection that will, in the future, have backdoor access to robust entry-level jobs.
So—if you do volunteer work, you will not only do good for the community, but you’ll also get a chance to meet someone who might hold a ticket to your future job.
Volunteering Lets Dip Your Toes into a New Career
You know it’s everything but easy to know what career is right for you once you leave school.
And—even if you do take a leap of faith and pursue a certain career, it might dent your resume if you end up not liking it and decide to quit a few months in.
Good news? Volunteering can help explore first-hand an unknown career path and see if that’s something you’ll want to do for a living.
Here’s an example:
Say you’re studying journalism. The problem? Getting a job in traditional media is close to impossible without prior experience.
That’s when volunteering can help and send up a rescue flare. Just Google journalism volunteer jobs and get legit on-the-job experience (stick around to learn more about finding volunteer jobs.)
And once you get a ton of journalism skills, it’ll be a lot easier to find a full-time position upon graduation.
How to Get Your Foot in the Door of Volunteering
At this point, you know that doing volunteer work can help jumpstart your career as well as help the community.
But—being a college student, you probably think you don’t have time to take on the added responsibility. You’re already snowed under with homework and various papers you need to deliver on time.
Good news? Volunteer work isn’t about how much time you devote—it’s about quality.
So even if you have a packed schedule, you can still help others and supercharge your career.
Find Volunteer Work in Your Area with Google Local
To find your first nonprofit gig, all you need to do is run a simple Google search.
For example, you can type:
- Volunteer jobs near me
- Nonprofit organizations in my area
- Nonprofits near me
- NGOs nearby.
Once you’ve typed either of the above combinations into Google, you’ll see a map with a list of nonprofit organizations in your area. All it takes next is to reach out to them and offer a helping hand!
So—What Do You Think?
There you have it. A whopping three reasons why you should do volunteer work as a college student and how it can springboard your career.
Now—what’s your experience with volunteering? Did it help you find your first entry-level job after graduation?
Let me know in the comments. I’d love to have a chat!
Max Woolf is a writer at ResumeLab. He’s passionate about helping people land their dream jobs through the expert career industry coverage. In his spare time, Max enjoys biking and traveling to European countries. You can hit him up on LinkedIn.