Volunteering is the one activity universities and employers want to see on your resume. Surprisingly, it is often an afterthought and overlooked. A 2016 study by Deloitte revealed that employers are 82% more likely to choose candidates with volunteering experience. In addition, 85% are more willing to overlook resume pitfalls if the candidate is involved in community service. The employers surveyed believed that volunteering teaches and trains candidates in ways that will actually convert them into the workplace. These are all the reasons why young adults should volunteer.
Up-and-coming professionals are ideal candidates to meet the needs of non-profit work because they have skills and talent to offer. Young adults and professionals are still in the process of navigating the workplace. Volunteering is an excellent way for undergraduates and post-graduates to add value and gain relevant experience. They are adding to their professional resumes while helping non-profits create positive change in their communities. You can apply to volunteer for WorkFaith here.
Volunteering will accelerate your career and enhance your personal life more than anything else. Here are five reasons why young adults should make volunteering more of a priority.
1. Allows Young Adult Volunteers to Improve and Develop New Skills
Do you have a skill or hobby you would like as a career, but do not possess the formal experience to land a job? Volunteering is an excellent way for you to dabble into an interest or skill in a professional setting without making a huge commitment.
In college, I found that I enjoyed writing papers – when I wasn’t stressed. I realized that I could use my writing skills to earn extra cash from tutoring, blogging, or writing a book. I was excited about the endless possibilities of turning my writing into a career. However, I quickly became disappointed. I realized most of the writing jobs I found required me to have a small professional track record in writing.
I continuously searched for jobs and internships that would accommodate my experience level, but I found none until I stumbled across volunteering! The underlying value and reward of volunteering are to gain formal experience while giving back to my community.
You might discover a new passion that you would like to develop into a career! When young adults volunteer, it’s making a difference while developing professional growth.
2. Accelerates Professional Development
Building on the previous point, volunteering your skills can accelerate your professional development. But first, you must do your absolute best work even though you are not being paid. Volunteering is no different than working for a company.
A good employer will see that you did an excellent job without pay while gaining the necessary skills to succeed. Not only will you prove to your prospective employer that you can do a good job and demonstrate that you can work with diverse people to successfully meet their needs. Soft skills such as leadership, communication, empathy, and competence are highly desirable in today’s workforce. Employers prefer individuals who can work well with people while getting the job done.
If you have extra time, you can take on multiple volunteering positions! These experiences can become great talking points during interviews to discuss your strengths and how you overcame challenges.
While your peers are relying on internships/jobs to kick-start their careers, be different by contributing your skills to causes you care about. The act of volunteering shows your initiative and hunger to challenge yourself. Also demonstrating that you are not a robot, but you can do an exceptional job while caring for others. Why should young adults volunteer after all this? It will attract a company wanting to hire you.
3. Broadens Young Professional’s Network, Creating New Possibilities!
Not only will volunteering boost your professional growth, but it will also allow you to make new connections and build meaningful relationships. From my experience as a young adult volunteer, I am amazed at the many people I met in just barely a month of getting started. Some of the best people you will meet are through volunteering opportunities!
Your volunteer supervisors will be great references when you are applying for internships and job applications. They will be great resources to help you find work. Those who lead nonprofits have a wealth of experience and they have crossed paths with a variety of people. Therefore, as a young professional and adult, you have an opportunity to tap into these resources when you are volunteering.
Not only will you build professional relationships with your supervisors, but you will also have the possibility of forming new friendships with people who share the same vision, values, and passions as you do! That is a huge win when trying to build meaningful professional and personal relationships. Volunteering is a great way to connect with others and experience real connections.
4. Young Adults Who Volunteer Have Improved Mental Health
This is probably one of the best benefits of why young adults should volunteer. Are there areas in your personal development you would like to improve? For instance, speaking to large groups of people, meeting deadlines, or improving organizational skills? Volunteering is a great way to apply these skills without having the pressures of performing in a working environment. You will comfortably grow while building true confidence.
Most importantly, volunteering improves your mental health. Many studies have proven that the effects of serving others greatly benefit your physical and mental health. A blog article by AbleTo states that volunteering “combats depression, reduces stress levels, prevents feelings of isolation, produces happiness, and increases self-confidence.” Helping someone else can drastically improve your mood and change your outlook on life. Your efforts and time on “why should young adults volunteer”, positions you as being giving, humble, and selfless.
During these times, it is even more necessary that we take the time to physically interact with others. Social media and the internet have downsized our personal interactions with others. This has ultimately led to a surge in depression and loneliness. Volunteering provides an outlet for you to make personal connections that will not only enhance your career but improve your mental health and personal development.
5. Gives Young Individuals a Great Sense of Purpose and Meaning
Sometimes, we can become entangled in our own problems, day-to-day routines, and interactions that we lose sight of what’s really important – investing in the lives of others. Yes, you can make a positive difference at your vocation, but it is important to intentionally set aside time to invest in people. Young adults who volunteer can make a positive impact.
World renown artist Pablo Picasso once stated that “the meaning of life is to discover your gift, and the purpose of life is to give it away.” We were all created for a specific purpose, and our skills, gifts, and abilities are not our own, but they are to be used to uplift others and to bring honor and glory to our Creator.
Many times, we are quick to express how everything is wrong in our society, but what are we doing about it? There are countless organizations that are tackling issues you care about. Why not take at least a few hours a week to contribute? Being one of the young adult volunteers, I’m talking to myself as well. In the Scriptures, there are many passages on servanthood. As a believer, I am commanded to love my neighbors as myself (Matt. 22:39), and to look on the interests of others (Phil. 2:4).
The principles of servanthood and servant leadership both come from God and His Word, but they apply to everyone. These two biblical concepts are what make all great businesses and communities thrive and succeed. If we are not taking the time to be there for people, then we all lose. When we step out of our comfort zone and serve others, we quickly began to discover the real purpose and meaning of life.
So, I encourage you today to use your God-given skills and talents to invest in the lives of others.
Author: Kelly Lewis
Kelly Lewis graduated from Liberty University with a BFA in Graphic Design. Her professional interests are in design, marketing, business, and education. Following graduation, Kelly has volunteered her graphic design skills for a variety of non-profit organizations including Kids in Tech, Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit, Do Good Bus, and WorkFaith. She is passionate about encouraging students and young professionals like herself to be regularly involved in their respective communities. In her spare time, Kelly enjoys coaching, reading, exercising, and learning something new.