Thinking about volunteering? There are many reasons to become a volunteer, whether you are a job seeker looking to gain valuable experience, skills and build networks, or you simply wanting to give back to your community; volunteering could be your opportunity to involve yourself in something that is challenging, motivating and rewarding. If you have ever been interested in volunteering, today’s Career Line blog will give you an insight into some of the benefits of volunteering, what to consider before becoming a volunteer, useful resources for further information and links for finding volunteering opportunities in your local area.
The benefits of volunteering
- Gaining new skills
When you begin volunteering you gain many valuable skills such as communication, teamwork, problem solving, planning and organising and using initiative. If you decide to volunteer in something that is specific to the career you aspire to, you could be gaining useful skills and knowledge about company systems and policies. For example, you could volunteer for a children’s youth center and gain a firsthand insight into the safeguarding policy. Those experiences can be mentioned when applying for jobs and is something that you can talk about in interviews.
Volunteering can be a fantastic way of building relationships with employees in the sector that you want to move into. By specifically volunteering for companies that you would like to work in, you have an insight into vital information such as how the company works, what the employer is looking for in a candidate and potential job openings. If you make a good impression, the company you are volunteering for could supply you with a great reference, or even better, they may even think of you for a paid position in their company.
- Understanding your career goals
If you are deciding what course to do at university or college, contemplating a career change, or have always wanted to see if you excel in a certain sector, volunteering can help give you clarification before making any major decisions. If you decide you love the experience, you can feel confident knowing that the decision you are making has been informed and based on actual work experience. If you didn’t enjoy your time volunteering in that sector, you can happily move on knowing you made the right decision not to pursue it.
- Improve your CV and interview technique
For a person who feels that their CV is looking slightly bare and is struggling to find paid employment, volunteering could be a great way of showing employers your experience and employment potential. Finally, many volunteering opportunities require an interview, so if you have not had experience of this or you are looking to work on your interview technique before applying for paid employment this can give you the experience and confidence you need.
Things to consider before volunteering
- What are my interests
- How much time am I willing to commit to volunteering?
- What do I hope to gain from volunteering?
- How would this help my career?
- What skill set can I offer an organization?
If you are considering volunteering, see below for some useful websites for further information, advice and volunteering opportunities.
-Rachel, Careers Adviser