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The Importance of Volunteering

by Melissa Small
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This week (April 19-25th) is National Volunteer Week! Many groups and organizations rely on volunteers in many invaluable ways, including Lutherwood who has over 100 dedicated volunteers and students.

Here are five reasons that volunteering can be a great addition to your profile as a job seeker.

1) Not only does it feel good, but it looks good too!

Many employers cite having positive impressions of candidates who have volunteer experiences listed in their resume. It shows them your commitment and reliability, even when there is no direct financial reward. It’s also a helpful way to fill any paid employment gaps that you may have in your career.

Volunteer positions can be their own category on a resume or blended with paid positions in a category labelled “Professional Experiences”.

2) It’s a chance to try something new

Although not all positions can allow it, volunteering is a great way to try out a position to see if it’s something that you’re able to do and if you will enjoy this type of work. It can also help you increase your confidence, hone your skills and build up more recent examples of problems that you’ve solved or situations where you went above and beyond. These questions often come up in job interviews!

3) You can meet new people!

Many jobs these days are found through networking instead of an online job board. Volunteering can connect you to others in your field and dramatically increase the odds of getting an internal referral to someone in a hiring capacity to find your next job. The more people who have an ear to the ground listening for you, the more opportunities that you may learn about that you otherwise wouldn’t find online.

4) More people will have good things to say about you

By volunteering you are building a list of strong references that you can have an employer call when you’re invited for an interview. They are an important part of any resume, whether the job application asks for them or not.

5) Helps to create a schedule

Volunteering can help you adjust your lifestyle and schedule to the expectations of an employer. A job may even be offered through the organization that you volunteer with, so you can get a head start on getting back into the groove of a routine before you get your first paycheck.