Is volunteering worth it?

By Jess O’Brien

Many studies show that volunteering specifically in industry related context significantly helps in the application and job search process. One study shows that 80% of employers said that they will overlook lesser flaws if the applicant has industry volunteer experience. I have been volunteering since I was about 10 years of age for different organisations for many different reasons. However, as I am currently completing my final semester of university juggling an internship, university, work and volunteering, it is making me wonder how important volunteering is on my resume to my future employers? Time management has never been my strong suit, and I am finding this to be the hardest hurdle to jump over as I’m trying to establish a work-life-balance. Is doing eight ours of work without pay worth trying to manage a continuous balancing act between commitments? Will this internship really benefit my future career employability?

Types of Volunteering

It’s important to discuss the varying types of  volunteering; person-to-person, non-skills based, public advocacy, and skills-based are just to name a few. Person-to-person are best described as programs like nursing care, mentoring and or tutoring; this is great experience to have as it shows personal connection and other caring attributes. Non-skills-based and public advocacy based volunteering are internships within an organisation or cause based that is away from your chosen industry such as disaster relief or protesting. However, the most valuable skill (dependent on the employer) is skills-based volunteering; when you volunteer your time in the industry or skill set you wish to pursue a career in. Skills-based volunteering is great for your own confidence, your employability and showcases your willingness to learn and be actively involved in your inteneded profession.

Skills and Experiences

It is no secret that every volunteering experience provides new skills to help a person in their future workplace. There are a number of beneficial and valuable skills that can be learnt through volunteering. An important aspect to learn is the importance of interpersonal skills, such as communicating to others and being a self-motivated employee (or volunteer) within any workplace. Confidence, teamwork, and time management are a few tactical skills that are also vital skills to engage in. Leadership skills like creativity, innovation and knowledge and understanding can vary depending on your role, but should definitely be attempted. These types of skills are imporant for all types of workplaces, but are also highly beneficial for professional personal-development.

Other Benefits

Volunteering should be approached with the belief that a particular expeirence may ‘get your foot in the door’. Giving your time to learn new skills, network with like-minded or un-likeminded people, explore what your potential duties may entail will give you priceless knowledge and understanding about that path. It is said that one in three people turn volunteer roles into paid positions. Volunteering can take you many places; professionally, socially and personally. Money may not be on the table, but a valuable experience often is.

Whether you are in university, in the workplace, or unsure of where you want to go in your career, I highly suggest volunteering for a weekend, a day, maybe even an hour; you never know what you could learn.

Wanting to volunteer around Brisbane visit these sites for some help:

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