Benefits of Volunteering
Even if you're looking for a paid job, volunteering is well worth considering. As well as the obvious feel good factor from giving your time to a worthy cause, there can be some real benefits for your career. You may be frustrated because you know what you're looking for but you don't have the experience or perhaps you just want to try something new. Whatever the reasons, giving time to volunteer is an excellent way to learn new skills and gain useful experience which can help you find your next job or launch your career. So, below are the key benefits of volunteering:
Charities and not-for-profit organisations recruit hundreds of thousands of volunteers every year throughout the UK and the range of opportunities on offer is endless. From sports coaching to fundraising, eBay trading to mentoring, volunteering is a great way to hone your career skills. Local Volunteer Centres and online services, will help match your requirements with the opportunities on offer. And whilst you won't get paid (apart from expenses), you will have the opportunity to get involved in activities you may later want to pursue as a career.
Skills & Experience
As well as helping to equip you with the ‘soft' skills that many companies look for in staff, volunteering as part of a structured volunteer programme can expose you to a range of core workplace activities, including: communication, line management, teamwork and using your initiative. From writing newsletters to maintaining computer networks, the best way to get a new job is often through experience and the right volunteering opportunity is a rewarding way to achieve this. In fact, in certain sectors, such as health and social care or charities, volunteering can almost be a pre-requisite. Voluntary organisations are well aware that many people volunteer to gain experience for their careers, so as long as you can show some commitment, don't be afraid to let them know your motives.
CVs and Interviews
Establishing what experience you want to add to your CV will help you identify the right voluntary opportunity. And, once your CV's looking more complete, you'll find it easier to reach the interview stage for the jobs you apply for. Employers are well aware of the benefits of volunteering and recognise the initiative and commitment that can be required by volunteers and an interview is the perfect opportunity to impress recruiters with your experiences. Whilst qualifications are still very important, voluntary work can help you get the experience you need.
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