Career Advice

How to Use Your Volunteer Experience to Your Advantage in Your Job Search

Job Crown 16 August, 2021

When you've just finished college, your work history may be fairly thin. Moreover, the jobs you have had may not have been steps on your career path. The good news is that employers see volunteer work that you've done as work experience.

Let's go over some ways you can use the volunteer experience to benefit your job search.

1. Fill Employment Gaps

When hiring managers review resumes, one thing they look at is gaps in employment. If you've had some months or years that you weren't working at a job, you can fill those gaps with the volunteer work you were doing during that time.

Having a strong volunteer history shows a prospective employer that you stay busy even when you're not employed. This presents you as a person who actively seeks opportunities for growth.

2. Develop Transferrable Skills

If you have volunteered, you have probably gained some transferrable skills. Be sure to list those on your resume and be prepared to speak on them in job interviews.

These transferrable skills serve you well in nearly any industry.

  • Computer skills
  • Public speaking
  • Problem-solving
  • Fundraising
  • Grant writing
  • Project management
  • Program development

3. Use Your Connections

Whilst volunteering,  you likely met a lot of new people. Volunteers often have the chance to meet people who are higher up in an organisation. You can use these connections to find a job.

The Corporation for National and Community Service studied volunteering and its effect on the job search. "Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment" tracked more than 70,000 individuals between 2002 and 2012. Surprisingly, those individuals who volunteered whilst unemployed had a 27% higher chance of landing a job.

The CEO you shook hands with when you volunteered at a soup kitchen could recommend you for jobs.

4. Refine Your Purpose in Life

In many cases, volunteering can give you unexpected aspirations. Perhaps your experience volunteering caused you to re-evaluate where you want to go in your career.