Ah yes, it’s another bitter post grad here to tell you what you should be doing with your life. As double humanity major in college I had plenty of people and think pieces giving me advice, some of it good, some not so much. But for all the Forbes articles I read about the top 20 companies I should be applying for internships with, volunteering was never really on my radar. Now two years out of school, and two years into public service, I’ve come to see how valuable volunteering can be for college students, and young people in general (current self-included). Here are four reasons why you should consider volunteering:
It’s an easier time commitment than an internship.
In a world where student loans are common and paid internships are rare, it can be hard to commit your time to an unpaid internship over a part-time job while you are in school–I worked all throughout my college years and didn’t have the time for an internship until my last semester. Volunteering is a great alternative way to experience different organizations and learn about the jobs that are out there without overloading your schedule.
It gives you an in for jobs that are not posted yet.
Oftentimes jobs will be posted internally before being listed publicly. This is especially true if you’re volunteering for a political campaign and looking to get hired as a legislative aide or other government position post-election or post-graduation–something I learned when I finally got around to phone-banking for a campaign my senior year.
It will give you a well-rounded CV.
Part-time jobs and internships are standard for college students these days, but volunteering experience outside your major or industry focus is a great way to showcase your other interests (and skills) to employers and grad schools. A unique volunteering experience can be the thing that sets you apart from the other piles of candidates.
Volunteering matters in the nonprofit world.
If you’re looking to go into Americorps like me, or the nonprofit sector in general, volunteering experience not only looks good, it gives you something to talk about in job interviews. Many nonprofits engage with volunteers in some form, so it’s not hard to see how it can be a pipeline to employment. I have personally recruited multiple volunteers who then ended up getting jobs with the organizations I worked for later on.