Often when we’re looking for a job, we can easily get overwhelmed. But all hope is not lost. You actually have more options than you think. We’re here to highlight the benefits of volunteering for jobseekers, to show you why you shouldn’t write it off as a viable option. Volunteering experience can be used to fill gaps and add value to your CV. It will show prospective employers that you care about making a difference within your community or further afield.
If you have recently graduated and are trying to kickstart your career, volunteering experience can enable you to gain entry into your desired industry, develop new skills, and connect with like-minded people. If you make a strong impression and they later have a paid job vacancy open, you could even make the transition to a paid role. All of this is because you laid the groundwork and embraced an unpaid opportunity.
Volunteering is an opportunity to meet a variety of different types of people. Going down this route will give you the chance to meet a wide variety of people from different age groups and backgrounds. There is a lot to gain from spending time with new people in a volunteering scenario. So, listen to their stories, learn from them and exchange your own ideas and knowledge with them. You might be surprised by the people you meet and the connections you make. If you are volunteering in an industry that you hope to work properly in one day, learning from like-minded people could prove vital for securing the job you want. These connections will continue to be valuable to you as you go on to embark on your career.
Filling your time with volunteering work can reduce the negative impact of unemployment on your mental health. Around 70% of adults in the UK feel that being unemployed has a negative impact on their mental health. (1) With UK unemployment having risen during the past year, it’s more important than ever to take care of your mental wellbeing. If you’re currently unemployed, taking up a volunteering role will give you a positive reason to get out of the house (even if it's just for a few hours a week) and enable you to establish some sort of routine. This will boost your confidence, give you a sense of purpose, and reduce the stress and anxiety that often comes with long-term unemployment.
Volunteering experience also makes you more employable. Your volunteering placement will help you to grow your existing skills, as well as learn entirely new ones. Going down this road will present you with opportunities to challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone, achieve personal goals and discover hidden abilities. You might even gain a qualification or two. Volunteer work can broaden our horizons and teach us to be more compassionate, empathetic people. These kinds of people skills are highly valuable to employers and will increase your likelihood of making a positive impression during an interview.
If you are not volunteering in a professional environment, there is still lot of advantages. Actually, most of the stated above. Plus, if you are volunteering to help a community or non-profit organisations, there is an add selfless and compassionate element to it.
So, it’s clear to see that volunteering has its advantages, despite the lack of pay-check at the end of the month. If you’re interested in getting involved in volunteering and want to know more about what opportunities are available, start putting feelers out there. Have a search online or speak to your friends and family who have volunteering experience. There is a wealth of opportunity out there, all you need to do is start looking.
Looking for alternatives to university? Have you considered applying for an apprenticeship or internship? Check our website on your options here