What’s Great About Volunteering?

by Genevieve Ward

Research shows that Australians love to volunteer.  Not surprising really when research also shows that people who volunteer have a greater sense of overall life satisfaction.

Last week I volunteered at the Melbourne Careers Expo where I gave career and resume advice to job seekers.  When I agreed to help out my motives were to do some professional development, network and promote my business.  Landing a client would be a bonus.

I talked to a number of people who were grateful to receive guidance finding work that suited their skills, knowledge and qualifications.  Throughout the day I realised I was really enjoying myself.  It was great to coach a wider audience with diverse backgrounds as well as experience  a career expo and promote its value to job seekers.

So how can volunteering add value to your job search?  As depicted in the diagram, a US study showed that you’re significantly more likely to find a job if you volunteer.

Volunteer Image

Searching out companies that offer unpaid placements, internships, work experience or voluntary work relevant to your targeted role can help you by:

  • Gaining exposure to the industry or role
  • Building on your skills and experience
  • Attaining a professional reference
  • Keeping you positive by engaging in a worthy activity whilst you are job hunting.

You can read anecdotes here and here about a job seeker’s choice to strategically volunteer his way to a new career.

As I travelled home from the Career Expo I noticed on the expo guidelines that as a volunteer I was entitled to free entry to an upcoming CDDA (Career Industry) Awards Night.  I’m looking forward to participating in another worthwhile networking and professional development event!

How has volunteering worked out for you?