Volunteering offers many of the same potential benefits as other experiential activities, like interning, for example, or participating in research projects.
Volunteering is yet another way you can continue developing the Core Career Competencies that signify career readiness. It also gives you a chance to explore various organizations, career paths, and work settings in a fairly low-key way.
But there’s more: Volunteering gives you the opportunity to create positive change in your community, too, whatever that community may look like. Perhaps it’s a city. Perhaps it’s a center where children gather to play after school. Perhaps it’s a nursing home where senior citizens live out their remaining years.
Whatever the case, your volunteer work matters—and the impact will likely go well beyond your own personal and professional development.
Employers agree. In a recent Deloitte survey, 92% of the more than 2,500 employers questioned said they believe volunteering expands an employee’s professional skill set. And 82% said they are more likely to hire job candidates who have volunteer experience.
How to Find Volunteer Opportunities
At the University’s Center for Community-Engaged Learning, staff members will ask you about your interests and then connect you with one or more of the 300 nonprofit community partners they work with.
You can also take a service-learning course, where you’ll volunteer a few hours a week for an organization that does work related to the class subject.
Additionally, you can often find volunteer positions posted on Handshake. Once you’re logged into Handshake:
- Click on the “Jobs” tab at the top of the page.
- On the page that follows, click on the “Filters” button.
- On the “Job Type” drop-down screen that appears, click on the “+More” button followed by the “Volunteer” button.
- Click the “See Jobs” button to see the entire list of volunteer opportunities currently being advertised on Handshake.
Structured Volunteer Programs at the U
The Community Engagement Scholars Program is a structured volunteer initiative that has an application process and requires 400 hours of community service, along with a final project. Your completion of the program will be noted on your transcript, and you’ll also receive recognition at commencement.
Another option you can look into is the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA) program, which offers semester-long programs that incorporate classroom studies, an internship, and fieldwork with a nonprofit organization.
Document Your Experiences with RATE™
RATE™ helps you understand all you’re doing and gaining from volunteering. Use it to capture your core career competency development throughout your volunteer experience.