Are you looking for ways to make your holiday season more fulfilling? Maybe you’re looking to get back to the true spirit of the season? Perhaps the holidays just put you in a giving mood? Whatever your particular reasons, why not consider volunteering this Holiday Season.
If you’d like to volunteer, but don’t know where to start, think about the skills you can offer. There is an organization out there that would love to have your skills even for just a few hours month, especially at this time of year.
If you can’t come up with a specific organization, inquire with your local homeless shelter, nursing home or hospital. You can help prepare meals, or just visit with the residents. Or why not consider doing something yourself, or with friends/family? Start a toy drive to deliver joy to a children’s hospital, or cook a few extra turkey dinners and take them out to people living on the streets in your community.
So do your best to get out there and volunteer; not only will it make you feel good about yourself, but there are some hidden professional perks worth considering too…
- Build Experience: Volunteering is one of the best ways to get real world experience.
- Get Your Foot in the Door: Hiring Managers look favorably on those who have volunteered; and the contacts you make could lead to opportunities after you graduate.
- Good Source of References: Make a difference for a non-profit, and they may return the favor.
- Community Minded: Proves to potential employers that you think of others; a valued trait.
- Develop Empathy: Volunteering enables you to put yourself in another’s shoes and see life from a different perspective. An important skill to have when you work as part of a team.
- Prove Your Positive Work Ethic: Knowing you are willing to contribute above and beyond, rather than simply looking for a paycheck is important. Volunteering looks great on your resume.
- Build Your Network: ‘It’s not just what you know, it’s who you know’ is still very true. It’s a great way to make contacts and meet potential colleagues (and employers).
- Feel Good Factor: Volunteers who commit about 1 to 2 hours per week experience health benefits when it comes to longevity, mobility and mental health.* Plus it just feels good when you can help someone less fortunate than yourself!
- It’s the Holidays: This can be a difficult time for people who don’t have a network of friends and family around them. Now is the time of year when many non-profits need extra help to help provide support to those who have no-one else.
Just 26% of U.S. college students volunteer** – Don’t be one of the 74%. Try volunteering this holiday season and you’ll soon discover that it really is a win-win-win! It’s good for you, your community, and possibly your career.
**The Corporation for National and Community Service – 2010