The Value of Volunteering

woman volunteer helping a boy

Volunteering Can Help Your Career

It is interesting to note that many successful people in psychology have done volunteer (community service) work. Volunteering covers a vast number of activities, including working on a political campaign, working in a church daycare center, disaster relief, tutoring, working at a rape crisis center, working with the homeess, etc. In thinking about volunteering, remember that volunteering  is doing work for free, and that volunteering has benefits, even if the activity you volunteer for is not directly related to your ultimate career goal.

Keep in mind that many people volunteer. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that between September 2014 and September 2015 there were about 63 million Americans (almost 25%) who volunteered. 

Here are rsome reasons why volunteering can be so beneficial. First, volunteer work stands out in your resume. To a decision maker (graduate selection committee or employer) volunteering shows a certain kind of motivation that others will not be able to show. Second, as a volunteer you are doing work that benefits the community. Moreover, it is a great feeling knowing you have helped others. Third, when you volunteer you actually show excellent time-management skills because you are able to volunteer at the same time you are taking classes and/or working. Fourth, volunteering can show that you can be part of a team. Fifth, certain college scholarships require community service to apply. 

4 volunteers standing in a circle
Sixth, volunteering often helps you to build networks among the people you meet. Of course, these contacts can be helpful when you are searching for a job. Seventh, voluntering can increase your skill sets (e.g., using computers, problem solving, etc.). Eighth, you can explore career options. Finally, volunteerin is a great way to develop leadership skills. Most activities for an organization require someone to be the leader--why not you!
If you are interested in volunteering, and wonder what organizations to contact you can talk to others, link to, contact a CareerCenter on your campus, contact organizations directly (e.g., Habitat for Humanity), contact the Red Cross when a natural disaster strikes, ask someone at your place of worship, Also, consider volunteering with a friend.

Please note that the comments of Dr. Golding, Dr. Lippert and the others who post on this blog express their own opinion and not that of the University of Kentucky.

Want More?

Visit our website to learn more about possible careers for psychology majors or those interested in jobs that involve psychology.

Learn how to succeed in college with Professor Golding’s blog.

Check out Dr. Lippert’s website to learn about her work as a cognitive psychologist.

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