Let’s face it, with today’s fast pace of living, finding the time for something like volunteering isn’t easy. Yet statistics show that applicants who can demonstrate evidence of having volunteered are more likely to be successful when it comes to landing a job or accelerating their career.
There’s a whole host of reasons why employers find volunteering experience so attractive. Here, we share how taking a little time out of your busy schedule to become a volunteer could hugely benefit your career.
Expand your skillset
Volunteering, particularly if done in a sector or industry other than you’re used to working in, will open you up to new skills and experiences. If you’re looking for a change in direction, volunteering can be an ideal way to perfect new skills in advance of taking on a new role. Equally, even if you’ve no current plans for a change in direction, volunteering will allow you to hone skills that you don’t ordinarily use every day.
Gain a sense of achievement
The first rule of writing a CV? List achievements, not responsibilities. Volunteering provides you with lots of opportunities to set goals…and achieve them. Whether completing an end-to-end project, making a difference to others, or learning a new skill, volunteering opens you up to plenty of chances for adding stand-out accomplishments to your CV.
Expand your network
Volunteering creates a sense of community, bringing people together to work for a common cause or goal. As a volunteer you’re likely to meet lots of new people, and new contacts can often open the door to new opportunities – particularly professionally. Use your time as a volunteer to expand your network and engage with people who you wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to spend time with.
Experience new working environments
Volunteering, in reality, is no different to a work experience placement. You’re still getting insight into what it’s like to work in a particular environment and your time there is a valuable opportunity to learn as much as you can. Remember to include all of your work experience and volunteering experience on your CV – it’s just as relevant as employed positions to hirers.
Highlight your personality
Volunteering shows you’ve a little ‘get up and go’ about you. It shows you have enthusiasm and drive. And, even if you have gaps in your career, if you can show that you used your free time productively – to develop your skills and help people – you’re going to be head and shoulders above other candidates.
Demonstrate great work ethic
Volunteering shows you care about causes, even when you’re not getting paid to do them. Taking the time to volunteer, either when out of work, or alongside full-time employment, demonstrates you’re a hard worker and not motivated by money alone. With CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) a priority for many companies now, employers are keen to hire people who are willing to go the extra mile and to actively partake in charitable activities.
Improve your health
Volunteering is great for both mind and body. It leaves you feeling accomplished and gives you purpose and pride. It encourages team working and socialising and because many volunteer positions involve physical work, you often get a workout too. Overall, volunteering has been proven to boost confidence – another quality near the top of the list for employers when searching for candidates.
There’s no doubt that dedicating time to volunteering may be a tricky task, but if you’re keen to accelerate your career, it may just be an investment worth making.
If you’re keen to learn more about how to make your CV stand out from the crowd, read more in our article here: 10 CV Writing Tips
Or, get in touch with one of our specialist engineering recruiters. We work to help candidates accelerate their careers every day and are happy to help.