Idaho CEOs Weigh in on Importance of Volunteering for Job Seekers

A 2013 study from the Corporation for National and Community Service found volunteers had a 27 percent better chance of finding employment than those who don’t volunteer. Many Idaho CEOs also see the connection between volunteering and future employment.

Connie Miller

Connie Miller

“We hire a lot of young people,” said Connie Miller, CEO of Icon Credit Union, board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters and on the board development committee for Girl Scouts of Silver Sage Council Inc. “More than anything, we look for the volunteer spirit.”

With that in mind, here in their own words, are several reasons why volunteering can help job seekers find work.

  • Volunteering is a state of mind that shows more to employers than simply the actions you accomplish while volunteering.

Andy Fujimoto

Andy Fujimoto

“It takes a level of maturity to go out and volunteer,” said Andy Fujimoto, CEO of Ameriben/IEC Group and board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters and Boys Scouts of America. “We’re looking for those individuals who have enough maturity to see beyond themselves. I can’t think of a better way to be able to identify that than through seeing individuals volunteer.”

  • Before even mentioning the skills you develop, volunteering shows who you are as a person to the company where you are applying.

“What I’ve found is that people who have a cause and passion for what they’re doing, they’re going to be a very successful person,” Fujimoto said.

  • Volunteering shows off your internal motivation just as much as it broadens your social reach.
Darrel Anderson

Darrel Anderson

“Volunteering creates networking opportunities and allows people to build connections and relationships to become more marketable,” said Darrel Anderson, CEO of Idaho Power and board member of Women’s and Children’s Alliance and Saint Alphonsus Health System.

  • Volunteering has consistently been used as a tool for finding careers through business networking.

“Volunteering helps a person gain exposure to different work environments, build their skills and become well rounded,” Anderson said. “You never know who you will meet when volunteering or where your paths might cross again.”

  • Volunteering presents many real world opportunities that transition easily into business.

“You’re going to grow a lot when you have to serve on a committee and work as a team with complete strangers to create an event or campaign,” Miller said.

  • Not only does it improve your chances of being hired, but volunteering improves your chances of being promoted when you do land a job.

“If you have the mentality to give back, you’re naturally going to want to do that to your co-workers and your department,” Miller said. The skills transition into the workplace just as much as the sense of teamwork and caring will. “When we look at promotions, one of the questions we ask is what they have been doing in the community,” said Fujimoto “we believe it ties directly to teamwork.”

  • Volunteering does more than affect you personally, it also affects the organization you’re working for.

“Participating on community boards builds on the reputation and image of the company that you are working for,” Anderson said. “Last time I checked, I don’t know of any company that looked down on employees improving the company’s image.”

  • Is some volunteering more favorable than others?

“The key is to find an area you have a passion for and where your skills can make a difference,” Anderson said. Find an opportunity that is in your desired career field or can utilize and improve your skill sets. “I prefer the volunteerism where it’s not ‘one and done’. ‘One and done’s’ are powerful and great but I’m big about you finding a volunteer activity that you are actually committed to,” Miller said.

  • There are plenty of opportunities to knock out some quick volunteering which are great for the community, but joining an organization shows dedication.

Even better, you can still do all those ‘one and done’ opportunities, but you will be representing and organization you are passionate about. “Sustainable volunteerism is what our nonprofits need,” Miller said. Having a regular volunteer provides the organization consistency and businesses want that same consistency when they are looking to hire.

  • Volunteering is a great tool for your career success.

There is always a need for volunteers, and you can tailor volunteering to your passions and career field. There has never been an easier time to find opportunities to help than now, so get out there and help the community while helping your career. Find opportunities in your community at ServeIdaho.gov.

“It is important for all of us to look for ways to connect to our community, and volunteerism is a great way to get involved and build relationships that will last a lifetime, ” Anderson said.

 — Nick Wright,
Serve Idaho, the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism