In recruitment, a massive aspect of the job revolves around resumes. Whether it’s what makes a good resume or how to build a good resume, recruiters have seen (and heard) it all. In fact, one of the most frequently asked questions by our candidates’ are, “how relevant is volunteer experience? And should it be included on my resume?”

Australians are proud of their volunteer work, with 29% of men and 33% of women reported engaging in voluntary work for an organisation or group during the year of 2014. However, volunteer work has declined since 2010 from 34% and 38% respectively. This fall in participation rate brings into question if volunteer work is truly helpful in building a well-rounded candidate.

Here are a few reasons why we feel that it is beneficial – especially if you’re a junior candidate.

A Personal Perspective

Volunteering is known to help counteract the effects of stress, anger and anxiety. Now if that doesn’t sound like a massive tick on the pro-list, I don’t know what is.  Anyone working in a fast-paced, high-intensity role, can understand the negative effects of this on your quality of life. So if volunteering can be a solution, I’d definitely put my hand up to give it a go.

Furthermore humans are hard-wired to give to others, with researchers proving (through measuring hormones and brain activity) that by truly being of service and help to others delivers us immense pleasure. Keeping mentally stimulated while having an increased zest for life just seems like an added bonus in pursuing a well-rounded lifestyle.

The additional sense of accomplishment you receive from doing good things for those around you helps to build your self-confidence. A personal sense of pride and identity helps improve personal goals and life targets. All in all, volunteering seems to be drastically better for individuals’ growth and development.

A Business Perspective

Firstly, employers absolutely love community involvement. With increased awareness on the positive impact of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), various businesses are pushing for higher rates of employee volunteering. So wouldn’t it just improve your chances of landing your dream job if you already listed your volunteering activities on your resume?!

Networking. Networking. Networking.  It is regarded as one of the most valuable traits of a savvy business person. As volunteering helps put you in touch with other like-minded individuals with drive and passion it can open doors to provide opportunities like no other. Sounds like it can be just another big tick on the pro-list for resume building.

Volunteering opportunities regularly provide fantastic training courses. Of course they vary, depending on the area you are volunteering in, but act as a great way to keep valuable job skills up-to-scratch. These can include developing soft skills through public speaking, communication and marketing through advocating for a specific cause. To me, that sounds like a fantastic way to build the core capabilities of a successful salesperson.

Worst case scenario, you hate the entire volunteering experience and are unable to find any of the above mentioned silver linings in the work you undertake. Yet if you are worth your salt and are even semi-beneficial towards the cause, you will be able to gain a reference from it. A good reference can work wonders to a candidates resume and job prospects. To be honest, I would count that as two ticks in the pro-column.

All in all, volunteering can be extremely beneficial in not only building new skills but maintaining fundamental abilities. As a keen volunteer myself (surprise!), I definitely recommend giving it a go and reaping in its benefits. Especially if you’re short of skills or want experience in a specific industry it’s a great way to build a resume.

Looking at adding some more volunteer experience to your CV? We suggest giving Seek Volunteer a go by clicking here.

Until next time…