Unintended Consequences of Volunteering — and They’re All Good

Guest Post by Dante MunnisUnintended Consequences of Volunteering — and They’re All Good

When Jessica Eckstrom began her unpaid college internship at the Make a Wish Foundation, she had no idea that five years later she would be the CEO of her own business — an amazing and highly profitable company with a charitable mission. The company? Headbands of Hope.

For every headband sold, Headbands of Hope donates one headband to a little girl with cancer, plus $1 to pediatric cancer research. Eckstrom was a communications major, and being an entrepreneur was not on her radar at all until she had that internship experience with the Make a Wish Foundation.

Volunteering, in addition to the great feeling that comes with “giving back,” can have real positive consequences in terms of career and connections. Here are a few of those consequences.

1. Co-mingle with Community Leaders

Community businesses and business leaders support charities. They donate, of course, but they also attend events, and many of them even volunteer. So, if you ever consider a career change, you will already have a network of contacts in place.

2. Develop and Enhance Skills

Volunteering develops and fine-tunes lots of soft skills, which are valuable to employers. Hard skills are easy to identify and observe; soft skills, not always. Examples of soft skills are self-management, self-confidence, patience, etc.

When people are considered for promotion, soft skills are often more weighted more heavily. Volunteering usually involves being a team player, establishing relationships with diverse demographics, effective listening, problem-solving, some creativity, and resourcefulness. These skills are transferable to the workplace, and when they are developed well, they are noticed.

3. Explore New Career Opportunities

Suppose you work in IT, but you have always loved the idea of writing. How can you test out your passion? You can volunteer for a charitable organization and work on its print materials — newsletter, website content, blog posts, and social media profiles and posts.  You will be able to determine if, in fact, this is truly a passion of yours and a career you’d like to pursue.

4. Follow Your Passions for a Cause

If you have a preferred cause or charity, and you are really passionate about it, volunteering regularly and making important contributions to the organization could result in a regular position when one becomes available. You will then be able to earn a living doing what you love to do — after all, what could be better?

Don’t Forget that Resume!

Incorporating volunteer work into a career resume can be more than just listing your hobbies or outside interests. It can and should be implemented similarly to how you showcase your paid experience. If you are unsure how to do this, then check out the volunteer resources on Engaging Volunteers or contact a writing service such as Essay Republic that has the expertise to embed your volunteer work into your work experience, including the details of your accomplishments.

Volunteerism is a critical piece of providing services to individuals and families in need. If we did not have charitable organizations and volunteers to perform valuable functions within those organizations, society would surely suffer.

When you volunteer, you become a part of solutions, and that contribution, along with personal satisfaction, cannot be denied. However, in the course of volunteering, there are those unintended consequences that can benefit you professionally, too. With a variety of different organizations available, you can now make a difference.

Get started today by finding a volunteer opportunity on VolunteerMatch.

Author Bio: Dante Munnis is a passionate blogger and idea-maker from Stockholm, Sweden who is interested in self-development, web-related topics and success empowerment. Get in touch with Dante on Twitter!

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