Jobhop Jobhop's blog : 15 Reasons Why Volunteering Is Good for You

Jobhop Jobhop's blog

December the 5th is International Volunteer Day. So what's the story with volunteering anyway, working for free? Why would you bother?

With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering are huge to you and your community. The right match can help you find friends, reduce stress, learn new skills, reach out to the community, and even advance your career. Giving to others can also help to protect your mental and physical health. Keep reading to learn more about the many benefits of helping others and find tips on getting started...

Why volunteer?

Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community, but the benefits can be even greater for you, the volunteer. Volunteering and helping others can help you reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose. While it's true that the more you volunteer, the more benefits you will experience, volunteering doesn't have to involve a long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of your busy day. Giving in even simple ways can help those in need and improve your health and happiness.

1. It's good for your health

No, I'm not making this up. Studies have found that when you stop thinking about your own problems and focus on someone other than yourself, your stress levels start to decrease, your immune system is strengthened and your overall sense of life satisfaction increases. This is because helping someone else interrupts tension-producing patterns and replaces it with a sense of purpose, positive emotions and high confidence levels. If you don't believe us, take a look at this infographic from UnitedHealth Group.

2. Learn new skills

What are the reasons that make employers love volunteers so much? Employers love a candidate with a range of soft skills and luckily, volunteering gives you plenty of those. You're faced with problems on a daily basis, you have to deal with a mix of personalities and all while adjusting to life outside of your comfort zone. This all adds up and helps to improve your leadership, teamwork, problem-solving and people skills. All in all, it's another excellent reason to get out there and volunteer!

3. Increase your social and relationship skills

While some people are naturally outgoing, others are shy and have a hard time meeting new people. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice and develop your social skills since you are meeting regularly with a group of people with common interests. Once you have momentum, it's easier to branch out and make more friends and contacts.

4. Make new friends and contacts

One of the best ways to make new friends or strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, especially if you're new to an area. It strengthens your ties to the community and broadens your support network, exposing you to people with common interests, neighbourhood resources, and fun and fulfilling activities.

5. Make a difference

Volunteering gives you the chance to vote every day for the kind of community and world you want to live in. It gives you the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than yourself and use your civic responsibility for the greater good. Without people who are willing to sacrifice their time and skills to meaningful causes, a lot more people and animals would be worse off. 

6. A real-world experience

Another amazing motivator for volunteering is the insightful, real-world experiences that volunteers gain in the field. Get ready to gain a hands-on experience, get stuck in doing wildlife conservation research, painting and renovating old buildings, caring for animals, or helping out in a classroom. You pick your passion and then you get to live your dream in real life!

7. Increases self-confidence

You're doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.

8. Gaining career experience

Volunteering offers you the chance to try out a new career without making a long-term commitment. It's also a great way to gain experience in a new field. In some fields, you can volunteer directly at an organisation that does the kind of work you're interested in. For example, if you're interested in nursing, you could volunteer at a nursing home or hospital.

Your volunteer work might also expose you to professional organisations that could be of benefit to your career.

9. Provides a sense of purpose

Older adults, especially those who have retired or lost a spouse, can find a new meaning and direction in their lives by helping others. Whatever your age or life situation, volunteering can help take your mind off your own worries, keep you mentally stimulates, and add more zest to your life. 

10. Helps to counteract the effects of stress, anger and anxiety

The social contact aspect of helping and working with others can have a profound effect on your overall psychological well-being. Nothing relieves stress better than a meaningful connection to another person. Working with pets and other animals has also been shown to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety.

11. Improve your CV & become more successful at interviews

Establishing what experience will look good on your CV will help you to identify the right voluntary opportunity. And, once your CV's looking more complete, you'll find it easier to reach the interview stage for the jobs you apply for.

Once at the interview, you will have the perfect opportunity to impress recruiters with your experiences and passion for your interests. Employers are well aware of the benefits of volunteering and recognise the initiative and commitment that can be required by volunteers.

Whilst qualifications are undoubtedly of importance, voluntary work can help you get the experience you need.

12. Gain a whole new perspective

Volunteering changes how you see the world. You come into contact with people on a daily basis from different countries, backgrounds and quality of life. It shows you how much less you can have and still find reasons to be happy.

This shift in perspective opens your mind to what is truly important, puts to bed age-old stereotypes and shows you how small your problems are in the grand scheme of things.

13. Make real connections

Volunteering lets you meet people from all walks of life. It gives you the chance to form real relationships that can have a lasting impact on your life. You could meet your future business partner, new best friend or have a conversation that sparks a real change in your life.

14. Get inspired 

With the new year looming ahead are you finding yourself stuck in a rut? Or maybe you're unsure what to do with your life or what to study after graduation? You can use volunteering as a reason to get out of old routine and help you figure out what your next steps will be when you return home. Taking a break, putting your life into perspective and other people first might inspire an idea or spark an interest. You might come up with ideas on how to improve your own community or discover a new life calling. 

15. IT'S FUN!

Of course, volunteering is not something to take lightly and needs to be treated with the utmost respect, but it's also fun! It's a reason to meet new people, embrace cultural traditions and go on adventures.

Combining this with all the altruistic reasons to volunteer makes for an unforgettable experience which will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Are you ready to get out into the world and spread some good in 2018?

JOIN Jobhop and spread the word. 

Kyria Bush

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On: 2017-11-30 08:57:48.057