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Volunteering: What’s In It For Me?

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Can anyone say that they got involved in volunteering for completely altruistic reasons? Doesn’t everyone want to get something out of it, however small and seemingly insignificant? Perhaps the knowledge that you’re doing your bit to help someone you believe needs and thoroughly deserves it is enough. But what you’re gaining from volunteering is something that could greatly benefit you now – and in the future, especially where your employment’s concerned.

Anyone with enough time to be able to volunteer has to consider themselves in a very privileged position. We know that time is a highly sought after commodity – if not the highest. Individuals who don’t have the time to organize their own lives can now pay others to do it for them – everything from picking up their dry-cleaning to arranging their dinner parties. So what you’re giving that particular organization or charity is a valuable commodity, and one for which you could be greatly rewarded.

For starters, if your voluntary work involves caring and assisting others then you’re undoubtedly going to get the chance to improve your interpersonal skills – and this will be useful regardless of whatever you decide to do in the future. If your position involves administration and organization then you’re going to be able to work on these areas of your repertoire. Again, these are skills that are useful in everyday life – not just in the world of work. And if the organization you volunteer for runs any training programs, never decline the offer to participate – free training should always be snapped up!

If you are thinking of returning to work in the future, then any voluntary work is only going to look attractive on your resume. Employers like to employ individuals who are self-motivated and resourceful, so being able to show that you sought and secured a voluntary position during a period when you weren’t working – for whatever reason – will be to your advantage when it comes to interview time.

If you’re at the stage in life where you’re not sure what your next step – professionally – is, then volunteering is also a good way for you to try something very different to what you’ve done to date, and to see if you want to change direction in your career: it can be a useful platform from which to start the climb in that particular field, if that’s what you decide you want to do.

Remember also that through any voluntary work you do you will almost certainly meet others, and although you probably won’t see it as such, it could be a useful means of “networking”, on both a personal and a professional basis. Not only will you have the opportunity to make new friends, but through the people you meet you could come across opportunities to help you in your career. All in all, it’s what’s called a win-win situation.

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