Volunteering at your church is a great way to give back to your community and help you gain the skills you need to be successful in any workplace. The transferable skills that you develop during your service will make a big difference in standing out during the job application process. Some of the transferable skills that you are likely to gain as you continue your church volunteer experience include:
- Teamwork – you will rarely find yourself without company in any volunteer experience. Your fellow worshippers will be there to support you and to give back to the community themselves. Though you are similar in your religious beliefs, you may still come from different backgrounds. It’s important to be able to work together with anyone you meet and build a relationship that will not only benefit each of you but the institution you represent as well, whether that be a church or a workplace environment. A tip from this experience can be to find a similarity that binds you and a co-worker together, like a faith-based practice, and use that to build your professional acumen.
- Leadership – while it’s important to be a team player, you also want to show that you can take control and guide others toward accomplishing a common goal. Whether you find yourself and your team setting up chairs for a service, distributing information pamphlets, or pitching up a donation booth, the way that you launch any effort and see it through to the end can not only help you learn about your own leadership style but also give you a sense of accomplishment as you lead your team through the steps that each of you needs to take to find success in your endeavor.
- Persuasion – many faith-based experiences will often involve a certain degree of influence to get your point across or spark a call to action. As you persuade others to learn more about your faith, to donate to your community, or advertise an event, you will find that it takes a balance of anticipation and improvisation to deliver an effective message that evokes change. You might have to tailor your message to a unique audience or to someone who may not share your beliefs, so it’s important to be able to take different perspectives into account as you polish your persuasive skills.
- Teaching – whether you find yourself mentoring an entire congregation or a small group of children during Sunday school, you want to exhibit language that informs on your topic clearly and concisely. Teaching is important because you might be expected to give a training demonstration or at least create one at your job, so you need to convey information in a way that is easily understood by others, engaging enough to be remembered, and simple enough to be repeated. If you can master teaching as a skill, you will set yourself up for success as you pursue professional opportunities.
These are only a few of the skills you will acquire through volunteer work at your church. Keep in mind that there are many different opportunities to volunteer, with some being better than others for a particular skill that you may be interested in advancing. If there are other skills that you want to improve through your church volunteer experience, or if you want to brainstorm some ways to get involved in your church, feel free to schedule an appointment with a Career Coach at the UConn Center for Career Development. A Career Coach will help you discuss which of the options available at your church might be a good fit for you and the opportunities you should participate in if you would like to improve a specific skill set.