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How Can Volunteering Contribute to Your Professional Development?

We all know that volunteering is a great way to give back, but what we may take for granted is how it can help develop professional skills.  If you are unemployed or looking to change careers, volunteering demonstrates to prospective employers how you’ve filled the gaps between jobs and your dedication to the community.


The Corporation for National and Community Service has issued a report that found that volunteers have a 27% higher likelihood of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers. Also, volunteers without a high-school diploma have a 51% higher likelihood of finding employment, and volunteers living in rural areas have a 55% higher likelihood of finding employment.  Don’t forget to add volunteering information to your resume!

Here are a few ways that volunteering can help your professional life:

  • Improve and Develop Skills: The skills needed to succeed in community partnerships (working with others, critical thinking, communication, creativity, and problem-solving) are the same skills required to be a success in the corporate world. Volunteering your time puts you in a position to participate in activities and challenges that otherwise may not have come your way.
  • Showcase Skills:  It’s a great way to showcase your gifts. Many a volunteer has obtained a new career position, either with an organization where they volunteer or with someone they’ve met during the experience.
  • Networking:  Volunteering offers the opportunity for you to network and get to know people.  Through volunteerism, you can connect with other professionals who may inform you about job openings that they know of, introduce you to others in the field, or provide a reference.  You never know who may be a potential employer.
  • Fills in Resume Gaps:  If you are between jobs, volunteering is an ideal way to stay busy and develop skills.  Most importantly, try to find opportunities that allow you to use the skills you want to highlight for potential employers.  This shows employees that you are not only dedicated to your community but that you are willing to continually improve the skills you have and that you have not been sitting idle while job hunting.

For help finding enriching volunteer opportunities, visit