Martin Luther King, Jr. said that, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” To celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, think about how we can answer this question with our actions. Volunteering not only strengthens your community and helps others, it also offers many other benefits that could actually help you find employment. When you volunteer, you also…
- Learn. Volunteering offers a great opportunity to learn more about different causes or organizations you might be interested in. You might gain new skills that would also be useful in a future career. You could expand your understanding of specific topics you might be interested in, and learn more about the local business or program you decide to help.
- Experience. Similarly, as you learn these new skills, you will be gaining experience that you can include on a resume. This is great especially if you’ve been between jobs—it shows that you have still taken initiative to stay active and work in the community, even if your employment hasn’t been consistent. It fills in gaps you might have on a resume, and can also show potential employers what your passions are.
- Explore. One of the great things about volunteering is that you have so many options. If you love being outdoors, you can volunteer to clean up your local park, build homes, or plant a garden. Or, maybe you love to read—you could help out at the library, volunteer with a literacy program, or become a tutor. Volunteering lets you explore your interests to see how you might be able to make them into a career. Or, if you don’t have any hobbies, volunteering is a great way to see what you might enjoy.
- Connect. Volunteering offers plenty of opportunities to meet new people. You may be introduced to experts who can teach you new skills or trades, or meet colleagues who could offer support through the job search process. Networking with others can increase your chances of finding an opportunity that’s a good fit for you. Others may be able to offer references, insight, or introductions that could help you land a job.
- Impress. Not only will volunteering benefit you as you look for work; it will also impress potential employers. Hiring managers value employees who give back to the community. It also shows that you have ambition, take initiative, and are not afraid of hard work. If two candidates with similar backgrounds apply for the same position, a supervisor will be more likely to hire someone who has volunteer experience.
In addition to these helpful benefits, volunteering also boosts your confidence and makes you feel good about yourself. More than that, though, volunteering gives you an opportunity to help your neighbors and improve the world you live in. This Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, consider the ways you can give back.