Here at Lifetime Networks, we place a great emphasis on volunteerism. So much of what we do is made possible with the help of our wonderful and dedicated volunteers. Therefore, one of our core values is “Volunteerism through belief in the importance of unpaid relationships in the lives of people we support.”
When participants enter the employment program, one of the first things we tell them is to start volunteering. This is because we truly believe in volunteerism and its many benefits! For some people, volunteering (i.e. working for free) can seem like a bit of a sideways step off their path to employment. But that couldn’t be further from the truth! The more you give, the more you will get in return. For the job seeker, these benefits are so important to success.
Let’s take a look at some of the things that volunteering can do for you:
Gain Work Experience
It’s commonly said that the best time to find a job is when you already have one. This means if you are unemployed and looking for work, the odds are stacked against you. Volunteering can be a fantastic way to get current experience that you can put on your resume! Ideally, you should find volunteer work that relates to the field in which you would like to find employment, but this is not always possible. Volunteering can be a great way to engage your passions while still proving to potential employers that you are reliable and hard-working.
Develop your Skills
Volunteering is an excellent way to practice your skills and develop new ones. You can build upon skills you already have by lending your expertise in a particular topic, which is a great way to advance your career goals. Volunteering sometimes provides opportunities for specialized training that would be costly to get on your own. If you are an inexperienced worker, volunteering can help you learn many of the important skills needed to be successful in the workplace, such as communication, teamwork, problem solving, time management, and work ethic.
Meet New People
As a volunteer, you will likely have plenty of opportunities to meet new people. This is a great benefit for anyone who wants to expand their social network and make new friends. Spending time with people who have common interests is a great way to develop your social skills, and makes finding new friends even easier!
Be Part of a Community
Volunteerism is one of the very best ways to connect with your community. By leading a hand to a cause, however small, you can make a difference in the lives of people (or animals, or the environment) in your community. This strengthens your bonds with your community as well as making it a better, more welcoming place for everyone.
Try New Things
If hobbies aren’t your thing, try volunteering! Volunteering is a great way to use your time to explore new interests and activities. You can also use volunteer work as an opportunity to explore new career options!
Boost your Confidence
When you volunteer, you are actively participating in something bigger than yourself. Whatever type of volunteer work you decide to do, you can be certain that you are developing your skills, contributing to a good cause, and making an important difference in your community. This can give you a great sense of accomplishment and pride. As you grow and learn, you are bound to start to feel more confident in yourself and sure of your place in the world.
Stay Healthy and Happy
There have been countless studies done on volunteerism, and they all seem to confirm some important results. Volunteering makes you happy. It has been known to relieve stress and anxiety, and can help to relieve symptoms of depression. Dedicating yourself to a cause adds purpose to your life, keeping you motivated and passionate about life. It also benefits your physical health by keeping you active, and reducing the risks of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Make a Difference
At the core of volunteerism are the ideals of caring, generosity, respect, and dignity. When you volunteer, you are giving of yourself to benefit the world around you. Contributing whatever it is you have – be it time, money, knowledge, skills, kindness, or friendship – to make someone’s life better is perhaps the most noble undertaking available to us. To put it simply, volunteering allows you to touch the life of another human being in a positive way. And that is a beautiful thing.