How Volunteering Can Help You Develop Soft Skills

Written by  //  2021/08/11  //  Academics  //  Comments Off on How Volunteering Can Help You Develop Soft Skills


Volunteering is one of the best available tools for students as they look to enter higher education. While the initial incentive to volunteer your time may come from knowing it looks great on college applications, choosing to dedicate yourself to something beyond your existing obligations brings with it a shocking number of benefits. From helping you develop character and charisma to providing networking opportunities down the road, these are some examples of how volunteering can help you develop soft skills to bring with you into the future.

Learn Empathy and Listening Tools

We learn empathy skills from the day we enter grade school. Yet the ability to implement them effectively continues to be a hot commodity in the workforce due to its rarity. Kindness and surface-level care are easy for most to achieve, but genuinely understanding the needs of others is an entirely different beast. Volunteering opportunities that focus on human interaction, such as working with local food banks or, even more so, providing company for those in hospice, require you to know how to listen. As tempting as it is to provide solutions and relate your own struggles to theirs, knowing when to speak up and when to simply listen and understand is a very different skill that you can develop most effectively in a volunteer setting.

Find Leadership Skills and Ambition

Some volunteering settings will hand you the physical tools you need and sparse instructions for the day. Animal shelters and community gardens rarely assign their volunteers a specific task, as they have employees to do that work. Instead, volunteers in these settings will have to develop a keen eye for issues and know when to speak up about the plants and animals around them. When something needs attention, bringing a plan of action to the organization and then acting on it sends a strong message to yourself and your peers that you can lead.

Accept Failure and Enjoy Success

Perhaps the most applicable skill volunteering can give you, far beyond your academic career, is the ability to accept failure. Not every situation can go the way you want it to. Not every street cleanup lasts, not every animal gets adopted, and not every human problem has a happy ending. However, the need to continue to volunteer after one failure remains. So long as the problem exists, the effort you dedicate to it is worthwhile. Each failure you shrug off your shoulders will make every victory that much better, and being able to celebrate your accomplishments with a team is a surprisingly rare trait too.

Volunteering can help you develop your soft skills by filling in the blanks left by core curriculum and tests. Those community service hours are only filler on a resume if you choose to ignore the lessons about communication, positivity, and progress that volunteering can teach you. If you are looking to prove to a university that you gave back to your community, start early and genuinely incorporate a passion for charity into your life.

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