Everyone knows that volunteering is a good thing for myriad reasons, but if you haven’t signed up to join a volunteer group, consider some things.

Life after college is unpredictable. In school you have a degree audit and academic advisor that tell you what your next steps should be. In the real world, however, you may not get your dream job, or if you get it, you may not like it or simply find something else that interests you, and therefore you’ll embark on a new career path.

Some of the most difficult job interviews to attend are those after deciding to change direction in your life. Why should you be hired with no experience in this new field just because you decided recently that you want it, over someone who has been in the industry for several years and has proven that they’re dedicated to staying in it? The company’s concern may be that you may decide you don’t like it and will change your mind.

We all have various interests outside of our major. You may enjoy tutoring kids as you earn a degree in Criminal Justice, or you may volunteer in computer information systems at a nonprofit organization while you pursue an anthropology degree. If you decide to change careers later on, there may be a possibility of going into something combines your major and your interests. This is why volunteering is important. It establishes that you have been involved in that area and know something about it versus suddenly waking up one morning and saying “hey! I’d like to manage databases to make nonprofits more efficient.”

Volunteering can lead to supervisory and project and/or volunteer coordinator experience, as well as other experience that may not be directly relate to your major. As you build a rapport with an organization, you may be able to take on leadership positions within the organization. That will give you the experience on your resume that may help you in the future.

Helping others is a very fulfilling feeling, but being able to help yourself at the same time is a great way to serve both the community and your interests.

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