Volunteering will make you stand out over other job seekers and give you better chances at getting interviews. It is among the proven job search techniques that new graduates and career changers without relevant experience can utilize.
When you are job hunting you are actually selling yourself. You need to find your vantage point that will differentiate you from other job seekers. In the sales profession a product or service's unique quality is often leveraged. It is very much the same with job hunting, you need to be a desirable candidate who deserves an interview.
Volunteering gives you that vantage point and the desirability factor. It shows hiring managers and employers that you have strong work ethics by doing unpaid work to help others. It is a manifestation that you seek self-fulfillment alongside attaining financial goals.
It also shows that you can go along well with others, which is essential in any work environment. Hiring managers value team players and look for people who will have no problems adapting and immersing in the company's culture. Another benefit is the utilization and development of your skill set. Students who volunteer for telethons to raise funds for charities, causes and researches develop their communication skills.
Volunteering also enhances time management skills. You need to strike a balance between your personal life, paid work (if you have one) and volunteer work. Some volunteer jobs are quite demanding with requirements of 30-hours per week. Others are more obliging and allow you to work from home. Whatever the set up may be, it requires you to assess your goals and priorities, and in the process develop organizational and time management skills.
It is a bonus if you have volunteered for a position that is similar to the role that you are targeting for work. It shows future employers that you have a passion for that particular role. In other words, volunteering gives you the experience in the position that you are applying for. This will also give you references from those in your field. And to state the obvious, volunteering gives you access to the "hidden job market." All these strengthen the premise that indeed, volunteering is among the proven job search techniques that people can employ.