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Volunteering


March - Career Week #3

Volunteering

Everyone's so time poor these days- so much competing for our attention. Why should you consider volunteering with so much on your plate?

Well, it is a great way to make your time at university that little bit more interesting and you would be surprised at the real benefits it can bring you on a personal level, as well as for your future career. Great grades aren't enough today, you need to have something that helps you stand out from the pool of other candidates with great grades.

Volunteering can do that; it can also help you widen your social circle, build your network, enhance your employability skills, and bring real mind-body benefits, all while helping you make a positive impact on the world and your local community. Let's look at some of the reasons to consider it.

Reasons to volunteer

1. Volunteering can give you a sense of purpose that connects with your core values helping you become more self-aware and confident in who you are as a person, what you stand for, and what you can achieve.

2. It helps you develop transferable skills and also apply your existing skills in a real-world environment providing you with examples you can use to boost your CV, cover letter and personal statements, job applications and interviews.

3. It is a way of getting relevant experience you can use in job hunting

4. It helps you build your network and perhaps find potential mentors and referees, people who will vouch for your skills.

5. It is good for your mind and body- gets you out and about mixing with people of all different backgrounds and interests that you might never meet in the ordinary way.

6. It helps you connect with the community around you and engage in social issues you care about

7. It widens your view of the world and pushes you out of your comfort zone. This shows an employer you are flexible, resilient and are open to new experiences and have a growth mind set.

8. It feels good knowing you are making a difference, get those natural endorphins flowing!

Who, what and where?

Some questions to get you started:

  • Who do you want to help and what do you want to help them do?
  • Think about what you are passionate about, what do you care about?
  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • What skills do you want to develop?
  • What kind of experience do you want?
  • Do you want to get experience directly related to your degree?
  • What organisations match your values?
  • Do you want to volunteer in UK or abroad? Some volunteering opportunities abroad come with a cost so make sure you check what those might be.

Think you don't have time? Think again!

There are so many volunteering opportunities that you will find something to match your availability no matter how small; whether it is in person or virtual, a one-off low commitment micro volunteering opportunity or something that is more long term and high commitment.

Areas to volunteer

The possibilities are endless, here are a few ideas:

  • Animals and wildlife
  • Climate and Conservation
  • Children
  • Youth
  • The Elderly
  • Families
  • Charities
  • Local community projects and Social Enterprises

Applying:

This may surprise you but applications for volunteering opportunities need just as much effort as an actual job application so make sure you get someone to review your CV, cover or personal statement before you send it off. Don't forget to say why you want to support that organisation and why you could help make a difference. Let your enthusiasm shine through and broaden your horizons.

Suggested Reading

Charities, social enterprises, community groups

Help people solve problems

National Volunteering opportunities

Skills based volunteering

United Nations Volunteering


Volunteering

By Anna Gordon - Certified Business Coaching Psychologist ABP CBCP

Volunteering

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