We all know volunteering experience can really jazz up a resume. But it’s hard to find the time to balance that sort of extracurricular pursuit with acquiring all the skills and knowledge needed in your field. It’s hard to tell when volunteering would actually, specifically, directly help you in your job search.
Here are four situations where some volunteer work on your resume would be a major asset:
1. You’ve just graduated
Your only relevant experience is academic, perhaps with an internship or two. Volunteering at this stage in your career can be fabulous for building your network and helping you find jobs, and also for padding your resume to help you get one. Try to find an opportunity that complements your chosen career path and you’ll be well on your way.
2. You’re unemployed and have been (or will be) for a while
Keep yourself current and prove that, even though you may not have found a suitable job opportunity in the interval, you’ve kept yourself busy and motivated and have kept your skills sharp. It’s also a great way to make new connections. You never know who might help you find your next job.
3. You want to change careers
While you start to build up skills and expertise in the new career you’re angling to change into, volunteering can be a great way to get your feet wet and break into that world. It shows your passion for your field, and will start helping you to make valuable networking connections, plus learning things that will serve you in the course of your career switch.
4. You don’t know what you want to do
It’s okay to come out of school and not know exactly what you want to be when you grow up. Volunteer work is a great way to try out different fields and get a feel for what rewards you and challenges you most. Play around. Worst case scenario? You haven’t wasted time, you’ve helped to make a difference.