Do Employers Look at Volunteer Experience?
When thinking about volunteering, we have a tendency to believe that volunteer experience simply doesn’t measure up to work experience because it is not paid. Sometimes we think that volunteering is “just for fun” or “just to help out”, but we don’t really consider volunteering to be good enough to be counted as real experience.
These thoughts are false. Volunteering is, in many ways, much better than work experience because it demonstrates initiative on the part of the individual. It also demonstrates that one can do many of the basic requirements for any job, such as working as part of a team, working independently, and performing specific job tasks that may be relevant to another job in the future.
Employers are also interested in finding people who have experience in a particular field. Currently, it is very common for people applying to medical school or looking to work in prestigious companies to put in time as an intern – without pay. This type of experience is looked upon quite favorably and is considered as far superior to having no experience.
Personally, having worked a volunteer position as a brand ambassador for a fitness company, I was able to land more than five jobs that I would not have been considered for had I not volunteered. At the time I was unaware of the value of volunteering and was mostly disappointed that I was not receiving any pay for my efforts. I learned many valuable skills while volunteering in addition to having the after benefits of getting other related (paying) jobs.
Stick with it! Volunteering is a great way to get a foot in the door and perhaps begin a job placement after volunteering.