Have you noticed how good it feels to do things for others? Or how rewarding it can be to participate in tasks that help promote a greater purpose?
Volunteer work can have amazing benefits for your mental health since we are biologically hardwired to form communities and support each other. Your brain rewards you every time you do something to help another human being (or by extension, society and the environment in general) but that is not the only benefit you get out out of it.
In fact, spending time doing volunteer work can have amazing benefits for your career and even provide you with some unexpected opportunities.
How volunteering helps boost your career
Bridges your career gap: Either you have decided to willingly take a career break or you have found yourself between jobs at the moment, eventually you will be asked about the infamous "gap in your resume". A survey conducted by LinkedIn found that 41% of hiring managers consider volunteer work equally valuable as paid work experience. Volunteer work can help you showcase your dedication to staying active in your career growth, even if it's not in a salaried position.
Enhances your personal brand: By volunteering for a cause you truly believe in, you demonstrate your passion and values. You are not just an applicant to various jobs, you are a well-rounded professional with interests, principles and goals and this is exactly what makes up your brand. Passion is contagious - people are drawn to purposeful and meaningful narratives because they can relate to them. This is exactly the kind of narrative that you want to build for your brand.
Helps you pick up new skills: Have you tried learning sign language? Or planting trees? Volunteering offers a wealth of opportunities for learning with almost no cost but the time that you're willing to put into it. You can choose to volunteer for positions that are related to your career such as administration support, volunteer recruitment or accounting - that way you keep your skills sharp and develop further them in a new environment. But you can also choose to focus on the cause rather than the task and pick up entirely new skills that may come in handy in the future.
Broadens your social and professional circle: While doing volunteer work you will undoubtedly get to meet new people that share similar values as you and form meaningful connections. Some of those connections may even prove useful in your job search later on and might even help you land a job next to people that you actually have a lot in common with.
Offers fulfillment and purpose: For a lot of people, work helps us find meaning and a sense of purpose in life. That places a lot of pressure in your job - from being afraid to make mistakes and take risks to eventually lose it altogether (and with it, a part of yourself). To avoid feeling unbalanced if you happen to find yourself out of work, you need to find other sources of fulfillment that aren't as strongly linked to your career. By investing your time into volunteer work, you can maintain a healthy balance and a feeling of usefulness and purpose that is unrelated to your current job situation.
By embracing volunteer work during your career transition, you can open doors to new possibilities and opportunities for self-growth. Moreover, it will help you maintain a healthy life balance and give you a sense of purpose outside of the 9-to-5 of your (future) job.