Hi guys! Enjoy this guest post from Holly! xoxoxox, Kayla
Can’t decide whether you should volunteer? When you offer to work for free — even for a charitable cause — it’s natural to have reservations. Aside from the lack of immediate monetary benefit, volunteering also requires you to donate time, energy and resources you may not have. Still, it’s worth considering.
Whether you’re still in college, or fresh out of it, being a volunteer can be rewarding. As you will see, the benefits of volunteering often more than make up for the “unpaid” aspect.
Volunteering Improves Your Career Prospects
If you think employers turn their noses up at “volunteer work,” think again. When the Corporation for National and Community Service tracked 70,535 individuals who volunteered between 2002 and 2012, they found that these people were 27 percent more likely to find employment. By the way, that’s after controlling for other variables like gender, race, age and unemployment rate.
Volunteering Provides Opportunities to Upgrade Your Skills
Since there’s a positive link between volunteering and your employment prospects, your next question is “Why does that link exist?” Simple: Volunteering is a great way to work around the so-called “Permission Paradox”: You can’t find a job if you don’t have experience, but you can’t gain experience if you don’t have a job.
No matter how “basic” your volunteer work is, it provides a chance to show off what you’ve got. For example, if your organization is a little short on cash, you can set up a fundraising page and make it work through your knowledge of marketing. Remember: When you put 100 percent into everything you do, you can easily write an attention-grabbing resume.
Volunteering Boosts Your Physical and Mental Health
You may have heard that volunteering lowers your chances of depression and is a great self-esteem booster. This makes sense: Volunteering requires frequent social interaction, so you’re less likely to feel isolated from everyone else and it can give you a real sense of purpose and drive. Did you know it benefits your physical health too?
According to a study from Carnegie Mellon University, volunteers had a lower risk of high blood pressure than non-volunteers. Although this link isn’t as direct as it seems — volunteers are also more likely to have healthy habits like eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly — it’s still in line with results from similar studies.
There’s a caveat, however: You can reap these benefits only if your motives for volunteering are at least mostly altruistic. If you volunteer because of self-serving reasons, and not because you genuinely want to help people, your mortality risk doesn’t significantly differ from those of non-volunteers.
Volunteering Helps You Understand Others
As a volunteer, you’re exposed to all kinds of people. Some will make your life swell, others will make your life hell. No matter who you meet, though, take the event as an opportunity to understand how other human beings tick. When you’re able to do this, you learn empathy, the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Empathy is possibly the most crucial life skill you can ever learn.
Now that you’re aware of the benefits of volunteering, you can start by looking into your own interests. What are the things you value most? Which organizations align with those interests? Look them up online, and see whether you can picture yourself working with them for at least a few months. If you think you’d make a good volunteer, why not give it a go?
Holly Whitman is a freelance writer and journalist, originally from the UK but now based in Washington DC. You can find her on Twitter at @hollykwhitman and more of her writing on her blog, Only Slightly Biased
Looking For Some career advice? Pre-Order my new Book!:
Books on blogging to help you take your blog to the next level:
- Building A Framework
- Blog, Inc.
- Creative, Inc.
- How To Blog For Profit Without Selling Your Soul
- 365 Blog Topic Ideas: For The Lifestyle Blogger Who Has Nothing To Write About
- Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job, Kill It In Your Career, Rock Social Media
- Crush It
- Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
Books to help you deal with your twenties:
- 101 Secrets For Your Twenties
- Life After College
- The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter & How To Make The Most of Them
- Adulting: How To Become A Grown Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps
- All Groan Up: Searching For Self, Faith, and A Freaking Job!
Other stuff you might like:
- Generation Y Redefines Success
- How To Be Rich in Your Twenties
- The 5 Most Valuable Lessons Grad School Taught Me
- Pursue a Lifestyle, Not a Job
- Why It’s Okay to Be Excited About the Awesome Stuff You’re Doing
- Why We Need to Get Over Our Fear of Rejection
- Don’t Wait, Be Happy Now
- The 5 Best Investments You Can Make in College
Follow me on:
*Affiliate links are included in this post.