In this blog I draw upon my experiences of volunteering and articulate that it is important to include volunteer work in one’s CV/resume and professional profile.

a) Economic Benefits. There is no debate about the contribution of volunteers both to the society and the volunteer him or herself. Volunteers provide valuable time and skills to help in the delivery of services, or products to organisations. There is indeed an economic contribution involved. When organisations put a dollar value in terms of the time contributed by volunteers, the hours will add up. Volunteers do save organisations a lot, so it is only fitting that they look after these precious human resources.

b) Skills and Employability. Volunteers also help enhance the working environment as well. They add value to teams, increasing team cohesion and may assist in the mentoring processes, whether they are the mentors or being mentored. Volunteers also gain from this work experience albeit unpaid. For those looking for paid work, volunteer experience count as legitimate work experience that can strengthen the application being a strong candidate with enough practical experience within a specific work environment. Sometimes the volunteer experience paves the way for paid employment within the organisation, as they can be prioritised due to the familiarity to the available role. Life skills developed from volunteering reap rewards that go further than what was learned in a specific work environment. Retirees for example choose to volunteer especially when they have a lot of expertise to share.

c) Social Benefits, including personal rewards. Volunteer experience can also make the volunteer feel socially included, and it gives them self-worth and a sense of accomplishment. Volunteers are naturally altruistic, and being involved gives them as sense of purpose.

It makes them feel good. Therefore they need to be nurtured rather than exploited. Volunteers need to be treated equally as any paid employee. They are not to be considered as “second class citizens” in the work place.

Have I done volunteering work? Yes, pretty much a lot in my adult life, whether it is for personal or professional reasons. I needed an outlet where my skills can be utilised. I also genuinely want to help others. When there are times I provided services for free, I would consider that as volunteering. When I help set up and run a charitable institution for several years, it was a testament of how different skills can be learned and shared. Now it does not matter whether your volunteer role is big or small, what is most important is to give it a try and see how you go. Currently I volunteer as a community paper writer. I find it really fun. Volunteering should not be a burden or a chore – it should be liberating!