Volunteering Increases Your Employability – National Volunteer Month

A College Degree is valuable. The experience of going through College in itself is priceless and the education level you attain will develop your character. But, more and more companies around the world no longer require employees to have a college degree. In 2018, Google, Apple, and 12 other companies in the United States declared that they no longer require their employees to have a College Degree. It’s not because these companies don’t believe in the value of education. It’s because they want something more and they are willing to exchange a typical College Degree to get it.

They want hands-on experience.

In 2017, IBM’s vice president of talent Joanna Daley told that about 15 percent of her company’s U.S. hires don’t have a four-year degree. She said that instead of looking exclusively at candidates who went to college, IBM now looks at candidates who have hands-on experience. Companies that you and I would love to work for in the future, are realizing that employees with mere knowledge (in this case, a mere College degree) are not going to give them enough Marginal Productivity of Labor (MPL) that will generate these companies the most profit. They want people with something called “employability skills.” They are not the typical soft skills we talk about (it’s already outdated). Employability skills are skills of adaptability and learnability: your ability to adapt to situations and your ability to learn things on your own.

But the last time I checked, College doesn’t have a class you can sign-up for, just to learn these employability skills. Sure, there are a lot of resources, but they aren’t enough. One way to gain these skills is through volunteering.

Volunteering is far from just “an act that makes you feel good.” When people volunteer in their own local communities, it makes those communities more resilient. Volunteering is an investment you and I make in the community and the return on that investment we get is better communities and personal growth. This “personal growth” is what will increase your employability. When you volunteer, you get to meet people in different professions in your local community, so you build networks. The good old saying “it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know” applies here. If you know people, you have an opportunity to diversify your future plans. Volunteering also provides you with the ability to navigate through challenges. Volunteering isn’t always easy. Some organizations, events, and programs will bring challenges upon you. There will be last-minute cancelations, sponsors backing out, logistical nightmares and so many other things. Working through these challenges and solving these problems will sharpen your problem-solving, strategic thinking, planning, time-management, and decision-making skills.

The world is evolving faster than we can catch-up, and companies want to employ people who can keep up with the fast-moving world. Whether you’re hoping to start your own business, or you’re interested in joining a company in the future, you will need to expose how good you are at adapting and what type of “hands-on” skills you have to increase your employability.

So how do you start volunteering in College?

Easy. You don’t have to go online and engage in brain killing research to volunteer. If you’re new to volunteering, you can simply go and join a student organization. Are you afraid of meeting people and public speaking? Well, that’s the point. The university is a great place to start experimenting with stepping out of your comfort zone because inside the university, you’re protected. If you don’t do well in a student organization, you can move on to another. This way, you can learn through trial and error. In the real world outside the university, it’s much gloomier – an error can mean you’re off the job.

So, join a student organization on your campus and start volunteering. You will look back in a couple of months/years and notice a big difference in your personality. If you’re a seasoned volunteer, you can start applying to volunteer opportunities in nonprofit organizations in your community or even create a project of your own. It will take you places. If you’re ever interested in searching for opportunities available worldwide, you can check them out at IVolunteer International’s volunteer portal or at Youth Opportunities.