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  • Writer's pictureShazia Peeran

Can volunteering count as work experience

Many people wonder if volunteering can count as work experience, and the answer is yes, it can. But it's important to understand that not all volunteer experience is created equal and the value of the experience depends on several factors.


Let's start with the idea that volunteering can provide individuals with valuable skills and experience that can be transferable to paid employment. Anecdotal evidence suggests that individuals who volunteer in their field of interest are more likely to have volunteer experience that is directly relevant to paid employment. One real-life example of this can be seen in the story of Sarah, a student who volunteered at a local hospital while studying nursing. Her volunteer experience provided her with valuable hands-on experience in her field and helped her stand out to potential employers when she graduated. It's a way to gain relevant skills and experience in your field of interest.


But it's not just about gaining skills and experience, volunteering can also provide individuals with the opportunity to work in a professional environment and gain valuable experience in working with others. Many volunteer opportunities provide opportunities to work in teams, take on leadership roles and gain experience in project management. This is exemplified by the story of Tom, a young professional who started volunteering at a local charity organization. Through his volunteer work, he gained experience in project management, team work, and leadership which helped him stand out to potential employers when he applied for a paid job. It's a way to gain experience working in a professional environment.


And here's something to think about, volunteering can also help individuals discover new career paths and interests. While volunteering in one's field of interest can count as work experience, it's also important to consider that volunteering in a new field can open up new possibilities and opportunities. This is exemplified by the story of John, who started volunteering at a local theater company while working in finance. Through his volunteer work, he discovered a passion for the arts and eventually transitioned into a career in the arts management. It's a way to discover new career paths and interests.


Just like how Malcolm Gladwell writes, as a journalist and author, in his books, "The Tipping Point" and "Outliers" he emphasizes that success is not only a matter of hard work and talent, but also a combination of other factors, such as timing, luck, and opportunity. Volunteering is similar, it provides an opportunity for individuals to gain skills and experience, make connections, and discover new career paths, but it is not a guarantee for success. It's a journey worth taking, and you never know where it may lead you.





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