In a previous article we talked about how volunteering is a great step toward landing a job.
There are many benefits to volunteering: it gets you out of the house; it gets you talking to and meeting other professionals; it gives you real-world experience in a discipline that you may lack or one in which you need to keep up your skills.
But a surprising recent study from national consulting firm Deloitte reveals that volunteering is not just something to keep you busy or make you feel good about yourself. It actually can help set you apart from other candidates and help you land a job.
As part of its annual IMPACT survey, Deloitte polled more than 200 human resources executives and asked them how volunteer work impacts their view of college graduates and service people about to enter the job force. The hiring managers reported that skilled volunteer work absolutely makes job applicants look more appealing to hiring managers.
Here’s what they said:
- When evaluating a job candidate, experience gained through skilled volunteering would be taken into account (81 percent)
- Skilled volunteer experience makes a job candidate more desirable (76 percent)
- Skilled volunteer experience makes a college graduate more desirable (81 percent)
- Skilled volunteer experience makes a serviceman more desirable (78 percent)
Unfortunately, many supposed applicants are not realizing this altruistic advantage.
Fewer than half of the 202 college seniors or 101 service people polled thought that volunteering was a viable way to develop the skills they would need for a job.
Numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics echo that sentiment: though 12.6 percent of Americans ages 20 to 24 are unemployed, less than 1/5 of them volunteer, the lowest of any age group.
The hiring managers’ responses show that volunteering is not just a good idea or altruistic vision, but a solid way to set yourself apart. Whether you’re a college graduate, service person, or likely anyone looking to advance in the professional world doing good for others can do good for you too!
So what exactly would skilled volunteerism look like? We’re not talking about walking dogs at the Humane Society or stuffing envelopes for a mailing campaign, though there’s nothing wrong with that.
The best kind of volunteer work would involve the skills needed to land the type of job you are looking for, conducted for a well-known and respected charitable organization.
Following are 20 examples of skilled volunteer work for a variety of disciplines.
- Establishing a social media strategy for a group that doesn’t have one
- Setting up a performance review system
- Organizing an accounting system
- Establishing or enhancing a website
- Developing an app for donors or others
- Writing a newsletter or magazine
- Doing publicity for a special event
- Handling logistics for a fundraiser
- Soliciting corporate sponsors
- Developing a survey about donor interests and compiling the results
- Overseeing logistics for a food bank
- Researching and implementing a new type of fundraiser
- Creating a report on a successful fundraiser so it can be shared with other divisions
- Developing routes or volunteer schedules for a meal delivery service
- Designing a fundraising letter or brochure
- Tracking responses to a mailing and developing a reporting mechanism
- Taking reports at board meetings to see how higher level decisions are made
- Developing a strategic analysis
- Conducting research on successful tactics that similar groups have implemented
- Researching and writing case studies of how the group helps others
by Cathie Ericson