Volunteering is a good idea. It benefits you, the place you volunteer, and the people you volunteer with. If you need some convincing, here are some reasons that becoming a volunteer is a good thing:
1. It can help you get a JOB!
When you volunteer doing something that interests you, you make yourself known to the company/agency you’re with. If you do a good job as a volunteer and a position opens up . . . guess who they are going to want to hire? (This really works; I’ve gotten a few jobs this way!)
2. It is great EXPERIENCE
Even if you don’t end up getting a job at the place where you volunteer, putting the experience down on a resume looks great for other job applications. Volunteering gives you real experience without having to find and commit to a paying job, or gives you experience doing something that you can’t get paid for yet because you don’t have the training. You can also get experience in an area you plan to work in. Say you want to work for the SPCA . . . you can volunteer as a dog walker, and write down “Experience working with animals”. Even better than “Worked at A&W” (not that there’s anything wrong with that, just that the specific experience will help your cause!)
3. You Look Like a Great Person
Employers are also going to think, “Gee, this person really cares about their community. They took the time to volunteer”.
4. You Can Get Scholarships
Sometimes scholarships are based on things like “outstanding community involvement” or “evidence of leadership”. Having volunteering as an extra-curricular activity can get you in the running for scholarships even if you’re not pulling that 4.0
5. You Can See What You Like and Don’t Like
If you think you want to become, say, a librarian, but you aren’t sure, a little light volunteering in a library can open your eyes to the reality of the job. You’ll find out if actually working in a library setting is what you thought it would be. If not, well, you can move on and volunteer elsewhere, and maybe save yourself a lot of time going down a path that is not for you.
6. You Get To See What’s Out There
If you volunteer at a homeless shelter, you get to see what being homeless really means. It opens your eyes to something far beyond your own worldview and may change your perspective and your actions. It’ll definitely give you the right to voice your experienced opinions when other people are just spouting off!
7. Meet People
If you volunteer with kids, you get to meet some hilarious kids. If you volunteer with other volunteers, you get to meet people who have similar interests to yours. If you volunteer with a great volunteer supervisor, you get to know somebody who can be a reference for you, help you connect with other agencies that are hiring, and so on. You meet some great people when you volunteer who you would never run into otherwise.
8. It’s the Right Thing To Do
Maybe you’ve been pretty lucky in life and you just want to give back somehow. Volunteering is a good way to do that. You’ll feel good and you’ll know that you’re doing something good, even if it’s just something small.
Well, I’ve convinced myself. Time to go out and find a new volunteer opportunity . . .