Summer Volunteer Projects have always been regarded as a great way for college students to enrich their lives while helping those less fortunate than themselves. Volunteering can be extremely rewarding on a personal level, but it can also significantly boost your job prospects both during your studies and after graduation.
A 2016 Impact Survey carried out by Deloitte found that only 30 percent of resumes received by prospective employers included volunteer experience, even though 82 percent said they would be more likely to hire a candidate who had worked on a volunteer project.
For recent high school graduates, university students and even those who are between jobs, volunteering presents a unique opportunity to enjoy an enriching experience while significantly boosting their career prospects.
Here are Five Reasons Why Employers Value International Volunteer Experience So Much:
1. Volunteering Builds Leadership Skills
Volunteering can help build leadership skills on a number of levels by taking you out of your comfort zone and presenting you with new tasks and challenges. Depending on the type of project you partake in, you may develop managerial, interaction and technical skills that will be invaluable in the professional workplace setting once you begin your career. Employers are only too aware of this. Ninety-two percent of respondents in the Deloitte survey consider volunteering an effective way to improve leadership skills, while 80 percent said active volunteers move more easily into leadership roles.
2. Volunteering Helps You Find New Opportunities and Connections
When it comes to boosting your job prospects, you can never have too many connections. Volunteering allows you to meet new people and explore opportunities in a range of fields and locations. You may get the opportunity to work with professionals who are experienced in their chosen field, opening up invaluable job opportunities in later years. It also gives you a chance to explore new areas, roles and responsibilities to help you decide the direction you want to take in your professional life.
3. Volunteer Experience Looks Great on Your Resume
If you are in university or have recently graduated, there is a strong possibility that you will have little or no relevant work experience to show on your resume. Taking part in a summer volunteer project can help bridge this gap. Many employers specifically ask for candidates to include volunteer experience in their resumes and look very favorably on any kind of volunteer activity. Also be sure to add your volunteer experience to your LinkedIn profile to make yourself more visible to prospective employers.
4. Volunteering Helps You Build Experience and Skills
Whether you are looking to build experience, develop existing skills, learn new ones, or even hone your foreign language proficiency, you should have little difficulty finding a summer volunteer project to suit you. Each summer, tens of thousands U.S. college students travel the world, partaking in projects that are not only rewarding and fun, but set them up for the right start in their chosen careers. For example, if you are studying for a career in education, you could try a volunteer teaching project in Thailand. Volunteering opportunities exist for almost every profession, from childcare to medicine to media and beyond.
5. Volunteering Makes You a More Well-Rounded Person
Aside from honing specific skills, volunteering will help you develop the essential “soft skills” that are so valued by employers. Summer volunteer projects give you a chance to live and work in a new environment, boosting your communication skills and enhancing your all-round confidence. Volunteering abroad can be particularly valuable, demonstrating that you have the flexibility and open-mindedness to excel in new environments and cultures. Above all, it will be an enriching and rewarding experience, and one that you will never be likely to forget.
If you think a summer volunteer project may be the right option for you, it is never too early to start exploring opportunities. If you would like to boost your career prospects while experiencing Asia’s rich and exciting cultures, Friends For Asia offers unique summer volunteer projects covering a range of professions in Thailand, Vietnam and Nepal.