Often we hear the word ‘volunteering’ and immediately think it’s unpaid work; which of course it is however the benefits of volunteering are far reaching and can be incredibly fulfilling.
Around 12.7 million people in the UK volunteer at least one day per month, with around 19.2 million undertaking a volunteer activity once a year. The impact on charities and communities cannot be underestimated; the sense of fulfillment and well being that comes from performing selfless acts for those around you can prove to be the tipping point to something wonderful.
Reed is the number 1 job searching site in the UK and they offer a great insight into the importance of volunteering for those wishing to improve their job prospects:
“Aside from the obvious feel-good factor from giving your time to a worthy cause, volunteering has a number of key benefits for you career which make it well worth considering.
Not only is it a great way to gain practical experience (something which can be extremely frustrating when lacking from your CV), volunteering can also help you stand out from the crowd and learn practical skills which will make you more desirable for prospective employers.
Here are just a few of the key benefits of volunteering:
Work in an industry that interests you
Charities and not-for-profit organisations recruit hundreds of thousands of volunteers every year throughout the UK and, as a result, 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 in an area that interests you.
If you’re unsure of what sector will be the best fit for you, Local Volunteer Centres, Charity Advisors and online services (such as do-it.org.uk) 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.
Gain valuable skills & experience
As well as helping to equip you with the 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 may even be considered a pre-requisite.
Voluntary organisations are well aware that many people volunteer to gain experience, and as long as you can show your commitment and dedication to the cause from the outset, don’t be afraid to be honest about your motives and use volunteering as a stepping stone to further your career.
Improve your CV and become more successful at 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.
One at the interview, you will have the perfect opportunity to impress recruiters with your experiences and passion for your interests. Employers are well aware of the benefits of volunteering and recognise the initiative and commitment that can be required by volunteers.”
So can you spare an hour , 60 minutes, 3,600 seconds a week? That’s only 1 hour out of 168 each week!
To find out more about volunteering opportunities at SelseyWorks visit our Energy Advisor post.
For more details about volunteering in your community visit Voluntary Action Adur and Chichester