Benefits of Volunteering: Professional Growth
For many people, signing up for a volunteer trip stems from the desire or obligation to help those in need. Few dare to question, “Is it okay if volunteering changes the trajectory of my life?” Many individuals, upon returning home, discover they walked away with much more than they contributed, and this often results in personal development.
Volunteers are capable of enjoying themselves while meeting professional goals during their service. This isn’t a selfish motivation; it’s a natural outgrowth of selfless service. To plant the seeds for your professional development, think about areas in your life where you hope to grow, and look for volunteer opportunities that would require those skills.
Here are 5 ways volunteering benefits your future career:
1. Experiential Learning
Volunteer trips are a great place to learn through hands-on experience. Be adventurous! Consider joining a volunteer team where you have little to offer but your willingness to learn. This will let you develop new skills and discover hidden passions.
In the words of Benjamin Franklin: “Tell me and I will forget. Teach me and I will remember. Involve me and I will learn.”
2. Career Exploration
Perhaps you just graduated college and you’re just not ready to join the work force. Maybe you’re neck-deep in a career you less than love and are looking for a change. No matter your job history, volunteering offers you the opportunity to explore new paths and to figure out how you want to spend your day-to-day life. Who knows? You may just discover a lifelong career that could both help people and make you happy.
3. Skill Development
Because of the vast number of volunteer opportunities available, you can offer your time while developing your skills and passions. Are you a nurse? Join a medical mission team. Are you studying to become a teacher? Volunteer at an orphanage. You can help a volunteer team that needs your current talents. This experience will give you useful practice to further your skills while helping those in need.
Bonus: You can search volunteer opportunities by location or by interest by browsing Volunteer Match!
4. Network Expansion
It’s never a bad idea to get to know someone, especially when you’re traveling! When you’re volunteering abroad, you have the perfect opportunity to make new friends who share the same passions as you. Take advantage of this time to network with other volunteers, professionals, and community members. You won’t regret the investment!
5. Resume Builder
Participating in volunteer trips will set you apart from the crowd, simply because you made a conscious decision to serve those in need. This can speak volumes about a person’s character. By volunteering, you have the opportunity to share your heart with those around you–both on the field and off. Who knows? Having volunteer experience to add to your resume could be the extra edge you need to land your next job!
By donating your time wisely, you can gain professional experience while exploring future careers. Don’t be afraid to try something new, because personal development is never-ending.
What personal/professional growth have you experienced as a result of volunteering? Tell us on Facebook and Twitter!