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Volunteering – 5 Career Benefits

National Student Volunteering Week is celebrated every February in the UK with universities acknowledging the invaluable contributions that volunteers make. It is also a good time to explore and commit to volunteering opportunities that align with your interests and ambitions while tacking causes and issues you care about. Not only does volunteering entail actively participating in selfless activities that benefit other people, but it is highly commended by hiring managers and recruiters. Here’s why:

Refine career goals and find passion

Are you having trouble defining your career goals? Do you know what it is that you are passionate about? Volunteering in different organisations will expose you to a plethora of career options and interests, some that you may have not known or thought of before. Insight into a particular role through some work experience is often the best way to really understand and appreciate the demands of the role or the organisation.

A mood board with goals Witten on it in yellow felt tip
If you know what career you would like to go into and don’t know where to start, its great to try and get some volunteering work done as you would be able to experience how working in the real world is.
Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Gain experience and develop skills

Once you’ve dipped your toes into the pool of volunteering, you’ll soon learn how to swim. Even though most voluntary positions are usually for a limited amount of time, the experience you accumulate with every role contributes to your overall development. Remember, practice makes progress. In addition,  you may volunteer at an organisation and find yourself doing work that is not directly related to your field of expertise. This too is an opportunity for you to develop new transferable skills.

A group of people working at the desks in rows at their office.
Having experience is something that is very important when wanting to get into your field of interest as you will never truly know how the working world is if you don’t have in person experience.
Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash

Meet new people, expand professional network

‘Your network is your net worth’ – it is indeed! Make the most of your volunteering experience by establishing connections with other professionals in the career path that you wish to align yourself with. Reach out for a coffee and a conversation and nurture those relations because they could become useful in the future. At the end of your volunteering contract, ask for a recommendation or endorsement of skills on LinkedIn from colleagues and superiors which will consolidate your professional profile.

A group of people eating together in a row
Meeting and networking with new people is very beneficial as this can help you put your foot into the door and help develop your career in your field of interest. Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash

Build self-confidence

Your role as a volunteer can provide a sense of purpose and pride, which can boost your self-confidence. The better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals. Whatever your age or life situation, volunteering can help you take your mind off your own worries, keep you mentally stimulated and add a new dimension to your life. Having high self-esteem will empower you in the pursuit of your career and personal goals.

A man covering the letters I and m and leaving the word possible on a chalk board
It is important to believe in yourself in whatever you do as volunteering can lead you to many more job opportunities if you show confidence. Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Looks good on a CV

According to research conducted by the professional service network Deloitte, 82% of hiring managers are more likely to choose a candidate with volunteering experience, and 85% of those are willing to overlook other CV flaws when a candidate includes volunteer work. Volunteering illustrates a lot about your character, both as an individual and a professional – and this can be the thing that pushes you out of the CV pile and into a new position. It shows that you are proactive in your spare time, passionate about certain causes and you have the ability to extend your skills beyond role-related jobs.

A CV on top of a Apple Mac laptop
It is really good to have things such as volunteering at a workplace on your cv as employers would be able to see that you have experience in your field of interest. This would also help your chances of getting hired also.
Photo by João Ferrão on Unsplash

 

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