It goes without saying that volunteering is a brilliant way to boost your CV and build your confidence at any point throughout your university journey – and there are plenty of organisations that offer voluntary roles!
Whether it be volunteering at a charity, at a school, at an animal rescue centre, for a political campaign or even volunteering abroad, there are a number of benefits that can be gained from volunteering.
A voluntary role could be during university term-time around your lectures, seminars and other commitments. I personally volunteered at my local Citizens Advice throughout my second year and found that they were extremely accommodating with what days I could and couldn’t do (something that a paid employer may not be so relaxed about!)
Or you could also do a voluntary placement year. Something many students don’t realise is that long-term voluntary roles during placement year often pay for your expenses, such as travel to and from the office, so you’re not left out of pocket! A voluntary placement role is a great way to learn more about a particular sector you’re interested in and eager to learn more about.
But why is a voluntary role worth considering? Let’s discuss the benefits!
- Boost your CV!
As I have mentioned, volunteering really does look great on the CV. Whether you’re in your first or second year considering placement year or you’re in final year thinking about graduate roles, a voluntary role is a good way to learn new skills, knowledge and experience to enhance your employability.
My volunteer role at Citizens Advice was something that I was able to talk about in my placement and graduate role interviews. Interviewing clients developed my critical thinking and listening skills, and providing clients with relevant information built my communication and leadership skills – all things that employers want to see in prospective candidates!
- A brilliant networking opportunity
A voluntary role is a way to get in the workplace and expand your network of contacts. Networking is so important as it can lead to new career opportunities or opportunities for advice and support which will aid your personal and professional performance. However, networking requires meeting people and building relationships, which is hard to do without getting out there – so volunteering is a brilliant way to do this!
- Supplement your degree
I personally found that volunteering at Citizens Advice was a great way to put to practice what I had learned throughout my degree. As a student of Politics, it allowed me to implement my knowledge surrounding policy and the public sector to practice in a real workplace!
Not only that but I learned a lot which has since helped me with my studies, such as writing case studies and being able to quickly find important information on websites. Therefore, volunteering is worth considering as it can complement your learning whilst competing your degree!
- Volunteering is incredibly rewarding
A voluntary role is a brilliant way to make a difference and give back to your local community! It can become a genuine fun and rewarding hobby if you find a role that you enjoy and are interested in. In particular, volunteering for a certain cause that you truly believe in is a way to contribute and use your skill set towards something that you feel passionate about alongside like-minded people. It therefore goes without saying that giving up your free time or placement year to volunteer can be incredibly rewarding!
Does volunteering sound like a good idea yet!? If so, here are some ideas to get you started.
Written by Rachael Woodroffe, Careers+Placements Associate