The Merits of Volunteerism

Volunteerism is a valuable activity that can make you feel good while doing good for others. But, did you ever consider what else you can gain from volunteering? Volunteer activities may actually help you further develop your career prospects.

Learn About a New Field

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work in a new field or industry? Were you hesitant to pursue a new opportunity due to the perceived risk of not succeeding? By volunteering, you can learn by observing and interacting with others in a totally new environment. The risk for trying something new is often lower through a volunteer activity, so it may reduce possible fears of failure. Offer your best work and expand your horizons, but be sure to enjoy the process and people you will encounter.

Develop Additional Skills

Today’s dynamic workplace requires people to stay abreast of evolving trends and maintain skills in areas such as technology. If you realize that you need to upgrade or develop new skills for the workplace, a volunteer activity can provide the right opportunity to learn. Many employers value skills and experiences that have been developed through a volunteer activity, so be sure to include a volunteer section on your resume. And depending on the level of involvement, some volunteer activities can even be listed in your resume’s experience section.

Increase Your Self-Confidence

If you have been laid-off from work or need to re-enter the workforce after a period of years, volunteerism can help boost your confidence about returning. It is normal to feel isolated and unproductive when waiting for a paid position to come through, but a volunteer activity can make you feel more confident by getting back into a work environment. By helping others, you will also feel more positive about your own situation.

Expand Your Network

Finally, volunteerism is an excellent way to meet new people and expand your network. By offering your best work as a volunteer, people in those organizations will take notice of your efforts and commitment. Sometimes a job opportunity can open where you volunteer, and you may be in the right place at the right time. Even if no job openings exist, you can establish great references and connections to other possible opportunities.

As the New Year gets underway, think about the new skills and experiences you would like to develop and how you can make a contribution to your community. Identify whatever stirs your passion – mentoring children, protecting the environment, or advocating for animals – and find a place to volunteer.

Interested in volunteering? The Bonnor Center for Civic Engagement at the University of Richmond partners with over 30+ organizations throughout the Richmond region, in a range of programs and interests. Discover ways you can engage at


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