Whether you're volunteering for a cause or a job, volunteering has many benefits for professionals.
Cambridge Dictionary defines volunteering as offering “to do something that you do not have to do, often without having been asked to do it and without expecting payment”. Often, volunteering is associated with causes’ people are passionate about but it goes beyond that.
Bringing it closer to the context of work, volunteering means working for an organization without being paid. Internship, on the other hand, means to learn a trade or profession for a specific period which is sometimes paid or unpaid.
Either volunteering or interning, the focus is to invest your time in practical learning. Evidence shows that volunteering/interning pushes you a step further and places you ahead of the competition. According to research by Linkedin, 1 in 5 Hiring Managers said they have hired candidates because of their volunteer experience.
So should you work for free if you can? I say, Yes! And here are 10 reasons why;
Before taking up volunteer opportunities, consider your career journey and personal circumstances. Think through the conditions, timing, location, resources required and benefits. Some people often think volunteering is a mean attempt at cheap labour. There are genuine opportunities that truly help people learn and grow. I say volunteering is worth it, I have volunteered for work, causes and projects that helped shape my career. If volunteering works for you, by all means, go for it. You have more to gain and nothing much to lose.
When you volunteer, be proud you did. Add your volunteer experience to your professional profile. Add them to your resume and your LinkedIn profile. When adding on LinkedIn, add them under the Experience section or the Volunteering section. If you are adding under the Experience section, be sure to indicate they were volunteering opportunities.
Are you struggling to find volunteer or internship opportunities? Keep your eyes on my upcoming articles and live streaming sessions where I will be teaching you how to find utilize those opportunities.
Ifeadi Anigbogu is a senior professional in People Management, Management Consulting and Human Resources Consulting. She is an international speaker, a writer, a content creator, a career and business success Coach.
You can reach her on LinkedIn here.