We all know that volunteering in a non-profit organization the summer before our senior year in high school looks great in our college applications, but do we all know that volunteering is one of the things hiring managers look for when they browse through your resume? Your volunteer work may be more valuable than the internship program you worked hard to be admitted in, as well as your grades in college. If you showed consistency in your advocacies in your volunteer work, the company you want to work for may give you the opportunity you need.
But first, how do you find an organization to which you can volunteer your time? You have to understand that just because you are volunteering your time and skills for free doesn’t mean that organizations are inclined to “hire” you. Like many companies, many of these non-profit organizations use recruitment strategies to land the talent or skill they need. Many of them also use a software program such as that by SkillFuel because it makes it easy for them to monitor the influx of volunteer applications.
Whether it is to further their careers or they believe in the organizations’ thrust, people have been volunteering their time in record amount. This makes the market crowded. It is far harder to find an organization now where your skills will fit exactly. Even in volunteering, you have to carve a niche for your skills.
Expands Your Network
The most important thing that volunteerism brings to your life is a network. You will meet new people and socialize with industry leaders. It strengthens your ties to the community and opens up opportunities that would otherwise be close. Who knows? You might even meet a high-ranking company officer while volunteering. Having a shared advocacy will give you the opening you need to get hired.
Ability to Work with Different Management Styles
A non-profit organization is run like any other organization or business. People have different management styles. You will find that soon enough when you join the corporate world. Volunteering, however, will help you prepare for that life. The fact that you’ve already worked with lots of different people in the organization will expose you to different management styles that you will encounter once you start working.
Learn Time Management
There are days when there is a truckload of volunteers who help the organization with their programs. But many times, there’s only a handful of people running and managing a non-profit organization. That will teach you how to manage your time well. If you have committed your time to the organization, take care not to let them down. They need you to manage your time well; to be present when they need you to be.
Improve Your Leadership Skills
Even if you are just applying for an entry-level position, the hiring manager should see that you have the skills to someday become one of the leaders in the company. Have you ever led a youth group in planting trees in your neighborhood? Have you taught out-of-school youth activities that can help them stand on their own? These are all leadership qualities. You will learn to improve these skills when you volunteer your time to a non-profit organization.
Work with Others Harmoniously
Even the best-tempered people lose their grip when their co-workers become too annoying. This happens all the time, especially in such a pressurized environment such as the workplace. When you volunteer, you will work with different kinds of people with different levels of temperament. The ability to work with others very different from you will help you survive the stress of the corporate world.
Volunteer work is like ordinary work. You deal with a lot of paperwork, do your job, and report to your “bosses.” Though the organization works to improve the lives of the less fortunate, a non-profit organization is managed much like how a blue-chip company is being run. You gain confidence by dealing with a lot of people—some of whom will become your friends; some your adversaries. It’s the nature of being out there pursuing your dreams and advocacies.
So are you thinking about volunteering? It is a lot of work. Do not ever think that you can volunteer and not work like how you would work if you are getting paid. Volunteering isn’t just for the paper. Though it might help you clinch that dream job in the future, these organizations are deeply committed to their causes. You should be, too, if you are going to volunteer.