Volunteerism can provide people with the career development skills they need to excel and standout in a busy job market.

Every year volunteers help nonprofits all around the world make a substantial difference towards the missions they fulfill. Volunteerism has also been shown to offer volunteers a plethora of health benefits including the reduction of stress, decreased anxiety, and increased physical activity. The act of volunteerism also offers participants additional benefits that can improve their lives such as career development.

Did you know that volunteerism can provide volunteers with the career development skills they need in a competitive job market? A study performed by United Health Group found that 49% of people new to volunteering said that the action helped with their career in the paid job market. The same study found that 56% of new volunteers believe that the action will help their career in the future.

Why is volunteerism a good career development move? Because the action provides several components that can help volunteers advance in the future. We will discuss several of these components in more detail.


Career Development Benefit - Volunteerism Builds New Skills


One of the most clear-cut career development benefits of volunteerism is the ability to create new skills and sharpen existing ones for participants. Volunteers are given the opportunity to practice skills, learn new techniques, and observe others who may be more adept in a specific role or opportunity. Volunteerism takes training out of the classroom and gives individuals hands-on experience. Volunteerism also creates the opportunity to sharpen existing skills and learn best practices.

Skill-based opportunities are on the rise and most nonprofits are looking for volunteers who have specific skill sets. 92% of nonprofits say they need more skill-based pro bono support. Volunteers can use skill-based volunteer opportunities to strengthen their abilities to new levels and increase employability.


Volunteerism is a career development strategy that creates new skills


Career Development Benefit - Volunteerism Increases a Volunteers Network


Another career development benefit of volunteerism is the actions networking potential. Filling volunteer opportunities introduces a volunteer to new groups of people who may work or know others in a volunteer’s desired industry. Face-to-face networking is still one of the most important actions that a person can take. According to a study, by The Virgin Group, 85% of employment opportunities are filled via networking.

Still not convinced about the importance of networking? Another study found that 28% of professionals have found or been referred to a new role through a network connection. Volunteerism is a great way for people to network and do good at the same time.


Career Development Benefit - Volunteerism Looks Great on a Resume


One of the most beneficial career development benefits for volunteers is the ability to add volunteerism experience to their resume and cover-letter credentials. Employers, across the world, value philanthropy as an activity that goes above and beyond. Volunteerism can separate a job seeker from other applicants and demonstrate leadership to potential employers. Volunteerism also demonstrates that a candidate is passionate about giving back to the community.

Hiring managers definitely see the value of volunteerism in 2018. According to a study by Deloitte, 82% of hiring managers prefer applicants that have volunteer experience on their resume vs candidates that do not volunteer. The same study found that 92% of hiring managers agree that volunteerism improves an employee’s broader professional skillset.

Including volunteerism on a professional resume can be an especially helpful tactic if:

  1. A volunteer is a new graduate and has limited professional experience.
  2. A volunteer has experienced a layoff or period of unemployment and needs to fill that time with opportunities.
  3. A volunteer wants to showcase strong values to a potential employer.
  4. A volunteer wants to demonstrate skills acquired from volunteer opportunities to a potential employer.


Career Development Benefit - Volunteerism Creates Leadership Opportunities


The act of volunteerism offers participants valuable opportunities to display leadership skills and make a quantifiable impact on the causes they are passionate about. 92% of Deloitte survey respondents believe volunteering is an effective way to improve leadership skills.

Here are a few ways that volunteerism can create leaders:

  1. Volunteerism empowers people to work on a team.
  2. Volunteerism can take participants out of their comfort zone and challenge them.
  3. Volunteerism can allow leaders to take risks and experiment.
  4. Volunteerism can help rejuvenate passion for giving.



The act of volunteerism produces many benefits for volunteers from improved health to career development skills. Volunteers can use their experiences to develop new skills, network with professionals, create a marketable resume and cover letter, and become leaders. Volunteerism is an activity that can improve the lives of the volunteers involved and everyone that their contribution touches.

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