Mature Workers: How Voluntary Work Can Boost Your Career

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Mature workers need to think carefully about the different ways they can broaden their career prospects. All too often, mature workers focus too intently on specific skills and technical knowledge, overlooking some of the softer, behavioral skills that they must bring to the mix. Voluntary work can help you address and development these skills. If you’re looking for new ways to boost your career prospects, consider the following benefits that voluntary work can bring.

Offers the opportunity to work with different people

Voluntary work is a great way to mix with a variety of different people. You’re likely to come into contact with a wide cross-section of different ages and demographics, and you can also choose roles that focus on areas where you particularly need a fresh perspective. For example, you may want to start working in a more creative, youth-driven working environment. Voluntary work can help you plug this gap, and will equip you with invaluable, up-to-date experience to add to your résumé.

Provides you access to specific skills

A lot of mature workers struggle with technology, so it’s worth considering a voluntary role that can quickly help address this problem. Many jobs now rely on the use of computers, access to social media and other technical environments, and voluntary work is a good way to avoid having to pay for costly training courses. For a relatively small investment of your time, you can use voluntary work to plug technical skills gaps.

Offers contact with a brand-new network

Voluntary work doesn’t start and end with unpaid roles. Some people start to work on a voluntary basis, and then make contacts that lead to full-time, paid roles. For example, while most charities need voluntary support, for the right people, there are also excellent paid, long-term career opportunities. It’s easy to underestimate the valuable networking opportunities that voluntary work can bring.

Helps you test career options

As a mature worker, you’ll often face choices that mean you need to work very differently. For example, you may want to work at home, but you may not feel confident that this is definitely the right move for you. Voluntary work is a great testing ground, and allows you to try new things, without making a full-time commitment to a life change.

Boosts your self-esteem

Mature workers can easily feel as though employers aren’t interested in them anymore. Voluntary work soon reminds candidates that they have a wealth of skills and experience, and it’s a great feeling to learn there are lots of organisations that want and need you. A voluntary assignment is a productive, confidence-boosting way to support your efforts to find a new role, and you’re also likely to have fun and meet new friends.

Voluntary work is a life-changing choice for many mature workers, and there are lots of different ways you can offer your time. When considering voluntary work don’t just think about charitable organisations you need to consider the industry or kind of work you would like to do, then seek out opportunities in that area. Wherever your career plans are heading, think carefully about the ways that voluntary work can accelerate your goals.

If you are considering a career change and are unsure of your options you may like to consider speaking with the Career Consultants at Résumés for Results about our Job Search Advice or Career Coaching services.

If you would like to know more about Jeanette Hannan [click here].