Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a key consideration for candidates today. People want to know that they are working for an ethical and sustainable enterprise, or they simply look elsewhere.

On the other side of the coin, CSR is an important goal for many companies today, and hiring managers are looking for employees who share these values and commitment to giving back.

Here we look at the benefits of volunteering, how to present it on your resume to appeal to potential employers and where to look if you are interested in starting to volunteer.

How can volunteering help your career?

1. Try new fields of work

If you are thinking of making a career change, volunteering can give you the opportunity to try different tasks and work that you may not get exposure to in a typical paid capacity. It can also work the other way, in that it can open up your mind to other aspects of a business or areas you wouldn’t have otherwise considered.

2. Learn new skills

Volunteering offers the chance to learn new skills that could be applicable to future job opportunities. For example, helping with a fundraiser could improve your planning and budgeting skills, while volunteering in a community shelter could help you hone your interpersonal and relationship-building skills. This is particularly important for those at the start of their careers, where transferable skills from a volunteering gig can be key to landing a job.

3. Grow your network

Volunteering offers the opportunity to develop personal and professional relationships that you would not necessarily have been exposed to otherwise. Pro-bono work attracts people from all walks of life. You never know who you will meet and how they could be helpful for your career growth.

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4. Stay humble

It’s all too easy to become wrapped up in your own world and begin to take yourself too seriously. Volunteering opens your eyes to other ways of living and the importance of remembering that we are all small cogs in a very big wheel. Volunteering can help you realise how lucky you are and instil a positive attitude, which is always an advantage when job hunting.

5. Expand your experience

If you are happy in your chosen field and not looking for a career change, volunteering can help to further develop your industry knowledge and experience. Sitting on a not-for-profit board, for example, will expand your professional skill set in a setting that you may not have had the chance to experience otherwise.

How to showcase volunteering experience on your resume

If you’ve been a volunteer on a long-term basis, list your professional pro-bono experience with your main job experience. If you volunteered for a short-term project or one-off event, you might prefer to include this towards the end of your resume in a separate section.

In either case, take the expertise you have developed which is relevant to the job you are applying for and include it in the skills section at the top of your resume. Skills gained whilst volunteering are just as highly valued in the corporate world.

Don’t forget to include your volunteer experience in your LinkedIn profile, where there is a dedicated volunteer experience section after education, and licences and certifications.

Hiring managers consider volunteering a valuable advantage when looking at potential employees. It shows you have the enthusiasm, energy, and willingness to offer more than the bare minimum.

How to find new volunteering opportunities

If you’re interested in volunteering, here are a few ways to get involved:

  • Follow not-for-profit organisations you are interested in on LinkedIn and keep an eye out for upcoming volunteering opportunities, or enquire directly
  • Check out the Volunteering Australia website for volunteer work listings around your area
  • Search a variety of volunteering opportunities on Go Volunteer
  • Look for pro-bono work in your professional field on Pro Bono Australia

Searching for a job where your volunteering experience can make a difference? Explore our open roles, or get in touch with Michael Page – Australia’s leading job agency.


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