It’s the most wonderful time of the year. People everywhere are remembering the importance of giving back to the community and volunteering to help those in need. While there are many, many reasons to volunteer your time to charitable organizations, it might interest you to know that volunteering can boost your personal brand.

People like to see that you give up some of your free time to help others. In fact, volunteers have a 27 percent higher likelihood of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers, according to new research from the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Additionally, research shows volunteering can increase your network and skills, both of which are important factors in your job search. You will meet many new people when you volunteer. It’s a great way to network because the people you meet at your favorite place to volunteer will at least share some of your values. You will also pick up plenty of soft skills such as organization, communication, time management, and more.

In every case, volunteer experience on your resume shows dedication and integrity, and employers want candidates who have both of these traits.

In addition to simply adding the experience to your resume, volunteering can also be beneficial as a way to get your foot in the door at a non-profit organization where you would like to work. Once you are familiar with the ins and outs of the organization and its culture, you will have a much better shot at establishing a brand and landing a real job there.

While volunteering is a wonderful mission, everyone is trying to do it during the holiday season. In fact, the United Way says demand for volunteer opportunities tends to outweigh the need for volunteers this time of year! You need to get creative if you want to do some good for the community this holiday season. Here are some tips from the United Way on how to do just that:

  • Provide holiday entertainment, like singing carols, at assisted living homes and group homes.

  • Ask your favorite nonprofit organization for a wish list and purchase or collect items they can use year-round.

  • Instead of giving regular gifts, donate money to your friends’ and family’s favorite charities in their honor. If you don’t want to do this, you can ask them for donations to your favorite charity instead of gifts.

  • Organize a coat drive by collecting new or gently used items for an organization that needs them. You can also collect shoes, hats, gloves and warm socks.

  • Make a New Year’s resolution to continue volunteering all year long. You’ll gain a lot more from the experience if you volunteer more often than just during the holidays.

If you truly want to boost your brand, it’s important to keep up the volunteering all year long. You can take some of your free time once a week, once a month, or even once a quarter to make a difference in your community. Doing good for someone else every once in a while can really benefit your brand and your career. Start volunteering this holiday season and continue to do so for many years to come.