If you didn't land a paid internship, volunteering can be a valuable alternative -- both for your health and for your resume!!

You’ve been pushed to get a job or an internship between semesters, but have you considered volunteering?

Just like the other two options, it looks great on a resume, but it can give you a whole host of benefits that you can’t get from an internship.

Put those internship applications down and take a look at why you should be volunteering this summer instead.

1. It benefits for your body.

You already know that volunteering helps others, but it can help you too.

Volunteering helps fight off loneliness and depression because you feel more socially connected when you’re doing it. Physically, it can help you lower your blood pressure by reducing the feelings of stress.

Turns out, it may even help you live longer, too. A study done in 2012 shows that when people were volunteering for truly altruistic purposes, they lived longer than those just doing it to benefit themselves.

In addition to these, volunteering can help with your mind in other ways. Doing things for other people can help you find purpose and significance. If you weren’t sure what you wanted to do before, volunteering can help set you on that path.

While it’s true that you might get paid in an internship, it won’t give you these kinds of benefits. Nothing else can really compare to the health benefits of doing good deeds for others.

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An internship also can’t give you the opportunity to help others in need and a truly life-changing experience for people besides yourself.

2. It’s resume boosting.

Volunteer experience is something hiring managers are looking for in potential candidates. Even if you don’t have a lot of professional experience, volunteering shows employers that you can be dedicated to projects or a cause. It lets them know that you’re willing to work for something.

Volunteering can also make you more than just a two-dimensional character on your resume. It gives an employer insight into your passions and personality.

The types of volunteering you do can also give insight into your particular skill sets. If you’re volunteering at a soup kitchen or somewhere else where you’re working directly with people, it shows that you’re good at communicating and social skills. Building homes for the underprivileged shows you’re good at working things with your hands.

Volunteering abroad can also help show that you’re willing to relocate or travel to do what needs to be done. Go Overseas has volunteer programs all over the world for you to consider.

In addition to offering a volunteer experience, a program abroad could help you learn other languages and cultures, which is also a great bonus on your resume. Employers always love people who can speak more than one language and can help with international transactions.

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3. It’s a change of pace.

If you’ve never volunteered before, it can be a totally new experience that will shake things up in your life. It’s a change from the day-to-day routine that people tend to get stuck in.

If you’re stuck at a desk all day normally, why not try to volunteer with an organization that gets you outside to enjoy the sunlight? Getting out of your routine can give you renewed motivation in every area of your life, and helping others while doing it is even better.

For example, with Go Eco, you can help with the conservation of wildlife. This doesn’t just get you outdoors — it gets you up close and personal with the animals you’re helping. It also gives you a chance to see exotic locales in a different way than as a
tourist.

Volunteering gives you a chance to step outside your comfort zone and make the world a better place, all while giving you valuable experience for a resume and benefits for yourself. The question isn’t why you should volunteer — it’s how you could possibly not?

Are you volunteering this summer?


Holly Whitman is a freelance writer and journalist originally from the UK but now living in Washington DC. She blogs at Only Slightly Biased and can be found on Twitter at @hollykwhitman