Work in sports is undoubtedly a highly competitive field. Volunteering and charity work help you grow both personally and professionally, which makes you stand out.
People who seek out volunteering opportunities thrive in the sports industry because many sports organizations are devoted to giving back.
Let’s take a look at how the sports world invests in volunteering, why employers prefer charitable candidates, how you can stand out among the competition, and how volunteering makes you happier and healthier:
Athletes Are Leading By Example
NFL players bring a lot of value to their communities. They work hard to support a lot of important causes.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall created the Project Borderline Foundation to help those with borderline personality disorder (BPD), which he suffers from. The foundation educates people about BPD to break the stigma, bridges the gap between patients and the public, and advocates for legislation that supports their cause.
Another great example is the Brees Dream Foundation, founded by the New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, which supports children who fight cancer and provides aid to cancer research. The foundation raises funds through various programs and events and contributes to several causes throughout the world.
Some NFL players are also getting involved in addressing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and the NFL noted that they are continually adjusting rules and protocols to try to keep their players safe.
This degenerative disease, which causes disorientation, memory loss, poor judgment, and even suicidality, is becoming more prevalent. In fact, a July 2017 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association looked at 111 brains from former NFL players — 110 of them showed evidence of CTE.
Retired defensive tackle Warren Sapp just announced that he’s donating his brain to concussion research. He supports the continued research efforts, as more players and families want to learn more about this disease and determine how to prevent it.
These players understand the value that volunteering and charity work brings to their communities. If you’re passionate about giving back, you should be proud of that. The sports world is full of like-minded professionals who are fully invested in serving the greater good, so make sure you share your enthusiasm.
Why Employers Look For It
When you volunteer, you’re spreading positivity throughout your community. Kathleen Downs, who is a recruiting manager for Robert Half International, says that volunteering experience tells her a lot about the candidate’s work ethic and character.
“Your volunteer experience shows me that you’re constantly networking, you’re involved in your community, and that you truly care about others,” she said. “The skills you learn may be applicable to specific industries or company cultures, which is why you need to share what you learn on your resume. It tells employers you’re continually trying to better yourself and stay marketable.”
This is even more valuable for recent graduates who are looking to kick off their rookie year and find work in sports or for job seekers who have a resume gap. If you volunteer, you’re taking action and staying enthusiastic about learning and growing.
Employers want to see you’re driven, that you know how to build a network, and that you’re excited to continue learning. Find a cause that you love, dedicate your time to helping the organization, and share your experiences with the world.
How It Makes You Stand Out
As you continue looking for work in sports, create a strategy for how you want to share your charity work. Use your online presence to spread the word.
First, identify what responsibilities you handled and any new skills you gained. Then, consider how these new skills help you achieve your goals. If you took on any leadership roles within the charity organization, highlight that as well.
Also, describe what specifically drew you to the charity. Show how their mission and values align with who you are as a person.
To give prospective employers a fuller perspective on your involvement, consider starting a blog. Use social media to document your volunteer experience. Reflect on the skills you use, what you learn, and explain how your values fuel your passion for getting involved with a particular charity.
For those of you who aren’t writers, consider shooting footage to create a vlog. Document daily operations and feature people who can share interesting stories about the charity organization. To share what you learned, talk about your experiences on camera and upload them to your vlog.
How It Makes You a Better Person
People who are actively involved in charitable work experience the happiness effect — the more they volunteer, the happier they feel. This creates a positive feedback loop. Happy people give more, and giving makes people happier.
A 2014 report from Harvard Health Publications compared people who never volunteered with those who did. The research found the odds of being “very happy” rose 7 percent among those who volunteer monthly. That increased to 12 percent for people who volunteer every two to four weeks. Among weekly volunteers, 16 percent felt very happy.
The personal benefits of engaging in charitable work are endless. Volunteering helps you live longer, makes you feel like you have more time, helps create social bonds that make you feel valued, and builds empathy.
Don’t miss out on helping others in need. The act of giving back can bring you a lot of benefits, both personally and professionally.
How do you want to start getting involved with your community? How will you share your experiences with prospective employers?