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Why Giving Back to the Community is Essential for Young Professionals

By: Grace Hartley

Many people view volunteer work as something you do for Beta Club in high school or even something for retired folks to do when they’re bored. However, viewing giving back to the community this way is a massive disservice to yourself, especially if you’re a young professional. Not only is giving back extremely fulfilling, but it can also help your career in ways you might not expect.

1. Helps with networking. You truly never know who you are going to meet, and it’s impossible to know too many people, especially when each new person you meet opens up new connections and opportunities. You could meet a connection for your dream job while volunteering at the Humane Society. You could find your next sales associate while packing meals for Meals on Wheels. You could find a rockstar marketing manager while giving out books to sick kids in the hospital. The options are endless.

2. Builds skills. You learn new skills every time you do something new. You might be wondering, “What skills do I get from packing meals or walking dogs that would relate back to my job?” The answer is: All kinds. Working together with five other people to pack meal kits requires communication skills. Who put what in the box and when? And in what order? Where do the completed meal kits go? Everyone has to be in communication to make it work smoothly. Playing with adoptable puppies at the Humane Society teaches you problem-solving skills. Let’s say there’s a shy pup who doesn’t want to come out of its cage—the problem. You figure out this pup has a favorite toy and use it to lure him out of the cage. Problem-solving.

3. Resume building. You should never stop building your resume, and volunteering is such an easy way to fill your resume with special skills and experience. Volunteer work on your resume makes you stand out. Why? Because it shows you have a vested interest in your community, it shows you know how to work with people, and it shows your willingness to go above and beyond.

4. Understanding diversity. When you volunteer, you meet people from all walks of life, especially if you volunteer with people and not animals. Although, you’ll probably meet animals from all walks of life too. You’ll meet and work with folks of all ages, backgrounds, and upbringings.

5. A sense of purpose outside of your job. For young professionals, it’s easy to feel identity in your career. Careers give many people a sense of purpose, but there is more to life than work sometimes. Volunteering can be an easy way to feel fulfilled outside and feel like you are making a difference outside of work.

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