As fellow Singaporeans, we know one thing is true – we’re super pragmatic. Sometimes to a fault. Let’s call a spade for what it is – we love a good sale when we see one. Never mind the long queues. “You save money that way! Buy two, get the other one at 50% off,” a salesperson could be heard promoting her products, a normal occurrence in the shopping malls.
We’re also pragmatic when it comes to matters of the heart. How else do we seal a budding relationship into something more serious? With a Build-To-Order HDB flat application, of course! Sometimes, the application is done long before a couple is engaged or married.
But when it comes to volunteering, where time is, a factor and benefits, less tangible – would a pragmatic do it?
Most people think of the author, Robert Greene, as incredibly prolific and accomplished. What they don’t know is that he had spent 20 years in obscurity, working in like 80 different dead-end jobs. Most of which he hated.
What Robert did during those years greatly influenced his writing. He wasn’t dead in those jobs, he was very much alive – researching, learning, studying, and observing the forces he would document in 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, Mastery, and The Laws of Human Nature.
During this period, he came to realize that there are two types of time: dead or alive time. One is when you sit around and wait until things happen to you (dead time). The other is when you are in control and make every second count – learning, improving, and growing (alive time).
Volunteering, in essence, is a lot like ‘alive time’ based on Robert Greene’s book.
While you don’t get paid for the community service, it comes with other benefits. Sometimes the benefits are more far-reaching than you would’ve imagined. For one, you get to meet like-minded people with willing hearts who share the same values as you do.
Nothing gets done by one person alone – you get to make the changes you want to see in this world within a community. Donating your time, energy, and possibly resources can be rewarding for you, just as much as for the people you’re helping.
One of the most undervalued benefits of volunteering is that it helps to widen your net of job prospects. When you have volunteering experience in your resume, you stand out over other candidates who don’t take the time to give back to society!
Here are 5 ways volunteering can affect your career prospects positively:
1. Volunteering can add experience to your resume
This is especially useful if you’re a fresh school leaver or a graduate with no prior work experience. How else would you be able to convince a prospective employer that you have the chops for the job that you’ve been vying for? For experienced jobseekers, this gives you a chance to show that you’re interested in things bigger than yourself and are willing to take action to make a difference in your community.
2. It helps to expand your network
Volunteer programs can allow you to bond with people you wouldn’t otherwise get to meet and learn from those who are different from you. This experience will increase your social flexibility and expand your worldviews. Being able to communicate and collaborate with people from all walks of life is a necessary skill to have both in your career and private life.
Through volunteering, you’ll also increase the chance of meeting people who may require the kind of skills that you have to offer. Many companies have tie-ins with non-profits as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. You just don’t know who you’ll get to meet!
3. It helps to avoid (or explain) job gaps on your resume
No more awkward silences when asked about the job gaps in your interviews. Volunteering highlights your character, passion, and determination. And beyond that, it shows your willingness to step outside your comfort zone, your openness to spending time on a community effort, and your proclivity to engage in team-oriented activities during your job search.
4. You get to learn and apply new skills
With Covid-19 and the proliferation of digital transformation, many jobs are becoming obsolete and new jobs are being created which require an upgrade of skillsets. While you wait for a suitable opportunity to come along, you can upgrade your skills and apply them to your volunteer causes. You can help to teach the digital skills that you’ve learned to a group of senior citizens within your community. Or help a non-profit to digitize, maintain its website or streamline its work processes. It’s a win-win arrangement for both yourself and the organization that you volunteer for.
5. Increases job confidence
Stepping out of your comfort zone and building new skills through your volunteer work is the best way to develop your self-confidence. Volunteering enriches your life and gives you a broader sense of purpose and a boost of motivation. Who has time to think of negative thoughts about yourself when you’re out there saving the world?
Pay It Forward
At Bridge, we believe that Volunteerism is a great way to give back to the community. At the same time, it helps you to build your network, develop professional and interpersonal skills which may be useful for your career trajectory.