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Top 5 Soft Skills You Can Learn by Volunteering

Some of us might think that volunteering is plain hard work no money given for your efforts. However, those involved in volunteer organizations or have had some experience of volunteering at some point in their lives would disagree. Takeaways cannot always be measured with money.

Volunteering might not pay you a hefty sum for the hard work but it will certainly impart skills and lessons that are priceless. Volunteering is not a one-way street and people can learn many skills from volunteering in different social and non-profit organizations as well as NGOs. Here are the top five skills that volunteering will teach you:

Leadership

The best achievement one can get from volunteering is attaining leadership traits and having a platform to practice leadership without having much to lose. You can test your limits and find out what kind of leader you are.

Some think that leaders are born but this notion will definitely change if you work as a volunteer for any non-organization. You will realize that leaders are not born but made and one needs knowledge and experience to become a good leader. Volunteering jobs usually present plenty of opportunities where you can practice leadership and work on areas that still need improvement.

With that in mind, here are a few ways how volunteering does, in fact, help enhance your leadership skills: 

  1. Get out of your comfort zone: Whenever you set out on a volunteering journey, you will undoubtedly be met by new people and challenges that might be different from what you are used to facing back home. It goes without saying that a change like this will naturally be challenging for everyone, however, it is exactly these circumstances that will make you a great and open-minded leader. 

  2. Soft Skills: Although volunteering certainly does improve your professional aspects, soft skills such as authenticity, optimism, and confidence are also substantially enhanced. Being in contact with different people on a daily basis will give you the chance to become a more open-minded and positive person, primarily because your work and efforts would be centered around helping others and making a favorable change.

  3. Experiment: When volunteering, you automatically gain the chance to try out new things. Throughout your program (during an internship for instance), you can afford to take risks and learn how to handle different situations in different ways, primarily because you would not have anything to lose. As a result, this gives you the freedom to be experimental and try out new things that might not necessarily be in line with what you would do otherwise, which would in turn make you into a better and more versatile leader.

Time-Management

As volunteers are appointed in time-bound projects, working as a volunteer will teach you how to manage time efficiently. The ability to submit the work within time and timeliness traits will be polished during the project.

Moreover, you will learn to prioritize and figure out the best way to accomplish all tasks that are to be completed. As volunteering works involve people’s emotions and commitments, volunteering will teach you to feel connected with the work and care for the project.

Communication Skills

International, local and regional NGOs and UN organizations appoint a large number of volunteers each year in their development projects worldwide. Getting involved through volunteering with large organizations will open up new doors for professionals and students.

It is also good for future career paths as individuals get in touch with experts and seasoned professionals. Communication skills are enhanced through volunteering and ample opportunities are provided for networking. If you think professionally, these skills will really help you in the long-run.

Professionalism

As a student, when you get the chance to work in a professional environment, it will certainly boost your professionalism. Volunteering gives you an upper hand over other candidates by improving your professional and interpersonal skills while applying for full-time jobs.

Here are a few ways how volunteering can actually help your professional life:

  1. Develops and Enhances your Skills: The skills that are required in the corporate world are those same ones that you will use when on a volunteer program; working with others, critical thinking, communication, creativity, and problem-solving. In addition, undertaking a volunteer position will also give you the opportunity to participate in various activities and tasks which you would otherwise have not had the chance to take up. 

  2. Showcases your Skills: Volunteering is a great opportunity for you to showcase your favourable abilities! In fact, it's not a rare occurrence to see a volunteer secure a new career position because of skills they would have portrayed during their experience.  

  3. Boosts your CV: If you currently happen to be in between jobs, volunteering could be an ideal option to keep busy and develop your skills, especially those which you believe are your strongest and could potentially attract employers. By doing so, interviewers would see that you are a person that takes initiative and is willing to continually improve your skills, as opposed to staying idle whilst job hunting. 

Critical Thinking & Problem-Solving

Volunteering projects are very challenging and as they need to be completed within a limited time. There are many situations where critical thinking and problem-solving skills of volunteers are tested.

Many volunteers often have to make critical decisions for the successful completion of the project. These opportunities are very valuable as they provide real-life experience of problem-solving to individuals and enable them to stand out from the crowd.

Besides these five skills, there are many other skills that can be learned through volunteering such as teamwork, creativity, self-management, work ethics, flexibility etc. Volunteering provides abstract achievement of satisfaction when you realize that your efforts are making a difference in people’s lives

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Last updated: 29 Oct 2020

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