Even if you don’t do volunteer work year-round, you should consider doing some during the holiday season. While everyone can get a lot out of volunteering, interns have a lot to gain just by giving a bit more of their time. So, regardless of whether you have a paid or non-paid internship, you should consider volunteering over the holidays. Here’s why.
It’s a Great Way to Expand Your Network
One of the biggest reasons you should work with nonprofit volunteer organizations is that it’s a good way to expand your personal and professional network. When you volunteer, you’ll meet other highly motivated people with the same interests as you. This is really important because up to 80% of jobs are never formally posted. Instead, they are filled through networking with the right people.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should choose your volunteer opportunity because it’s closely related to your career. Instead, you should choose a volunteer opportunity because the cause is one that interests you. This way it’s easier to build genuine relationships with other volunteers. The more volunteers you become friends with, the more likely it is that one will be able to help you land the job of your dreams in the future.
It’s Easier to Find Time for Volunteer Work
Chances are, you have more time to volunteer around the holidays. You have a break from classes, and you might have some time off of work too. Instead of lounging around for a few weeks, you can use that time to volunteer.
When thinking about volunteer opportunities, consider looking at options that help you learn a new skill or improve your current skills. According to Mashable, 87% of people surveyed by UnitedHealth Group and Optum Institute said that volunteering helped them improve their time management and teamwork skills — both soft skills employers regularly look for in job applicants.
It Helps Spread Holiday Cheer
The holidays are stressful for many people. Entertaining friends and family or attending holiday parties keep people busier than usual and, with added financial obligations on top of that, it’s really easy for stress to overwhelm us and take center stage. However, when you take time to volunteer, you help spread holiday cheer to those who might not be feeling it.
A great way to help spread holiday cheer is to volunteer in retirement homes, to work with veterans, or in children’s hospitals. By working with people who may not have family to celebrate the holidays with, you can bring a bit of love and laughter into their lives.
It Helps You Appreciate What You Have
Working with those less fortunate really puts life into perspective. There’s a good chance you’ll walk away from the experience with a new appreciation for what you already have in life. When you truly appreciate the things you have, the more positive you become in general, and the more positive you are, the more positive things come your way.
It Gives You Resume a Boost
Whether you’re applying to a grad program or you’re trying to build up more work experience before you actively hit the job market, volunteering is a great way to pad your resume. Not only will adding volunteer work to your resume make it fuller, it shows what type of causes you’re passionate about, that you’re a hard worker, and that you’re an empathetic person.
Ultimately, volunteering helps you just as much as it helps the organization you work with. And it’s a holiday tradition you can continue for years to come. You can even get your family involved so you can all celebrate the holidays by giving to those in need.