At a Glance: Volunteering can help enhance your career by allowing you to explore new frontiers, expand your personal and professional networks and increase your skillset.
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As you’re working toward your degree, volunteering can be a great way to dip your toe in the water. You’ll gain experience, confidence and skills — all of which can help you earn the job you want in the future and excel.

Here are three ways giving back to your community may also help your career development: 

Explore new frontiers

Though certain occupations require education, training and in some cases licensure, volunteering in an industry or area that aligns with your career goals is a smart way to get real-world experience without making a long-term commitment. If you are interested in healthcare, try volunteering at a local hospital or nursing home. Interested in becoming a teacher? Try tutoring children or adult learners. You will get some on-the-job training by working side by side with professionals in your chosen field. This exposure may reaffirm your desire to pursue a different career, or help you realize that another field or role might be a better fit — both are completely valid takeaways. You will also be able to share with prospective employers the responsibilities and accomplishments you had during your volunteering experience.

Expand your personal and professional networks

Before a lot of jobs are even publicly posted, they’re filled through referrals. If you’re looking to change careers or find additional opportunities in your current field, networking is essential to success. Volunteering is a great way to expand your professional and social networks. It will get you face time with the employees at the company you are interested in. Try volunteering at a specific organization that you would love to work for in the future. It’s a great way to explore opportunities. 

Increase your skillset

Volunteering is a great way to develop new skills and hone existing ones. From time-management and teambuilding skills to leadership and organizational abilities, volunteering will expose you to all kinds of opportunities to learn and grow. Improve public speaking, communication and administrative skills. Give back to something you’re passionate about by sitting on a nonprofit board of directors or offering mentorship to someone new to your field. The skills you develop through volunteering will also help you stand out from the crowd when you look for new opportunities.

The benefits of volunteering are enormous — for you, your family, your community and your future. It’s a fun and easy way to explore your passions and interests while giving back to those in need.

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