December 12, 2018, by Anabel Robson
Volunteering in My First Year: How I Found Experience for My CV
By Anabel Robson, first year, BA History
The first time I put together my CV, I realised that I was severely lacking in experience. I needed something that would make me stand out. So, I decided to spend my summer volunteering and found a great opportunity with the National Trust.
I volunteered at Chartwell, the family home of Winston Churchill
Although I didn’t quite know what sort of career I was interested in, I knew that I had a passion for history. Initially, this was pretty daunting as I didn’t really know much about volunteering and it wasn’t what any of my friends were doing.
Now I am so pleased that I decided to follow my own path because now that’s what makes me stand out.
I was by far the youngest volunteer there
This was the summer before I started uni, and I was surrounded by people with so much more life experience than I had.
It proved to be a huge bonus though. Not only did I get to hear some great stories, but I was also able to learn to adapt to a new working environment that didn’t rely on social media or direct messaging. I practised face-to-face communication skills and learned to read social cues that I don’t think our tech-savvy generation realises we lack!
I feel much more prepared for future interviews
After six weeks of guiding visitors around the house, I found myself much more comfortable answering questions on the spot. I think this will help in future interviews, as I can trust I will be able to answer without panicking – even if I’m not entirely confident in my response.
I feel much more comfortable talking to different people now. Many of the visitors were non-English speaking tourists, so I had to adapt to accommodate their needs to ensure they made the most out of their visit.
Ultimately, I decided to volunteer to boost my CV
And that is exactly what happened. I have experience working in an environment that deals with lots of different people with lots of different needs. I can show that I care about giving back to the community and preserving places of historic interest. This will show a future employer that I genuinely care about how I can make an impact.
I have learned more about myself than I thought I could. Initially, I didn’t believe that I was experienced enough to act as a guide, but I proved myself wrong. This gave me a big confidence boost along the way.
Undoubtedly, I will continue to volunteer, and I highly recommend you give it a go too. Not only does it look great on your CV, but it is really rewarding.
Image credit: Dhowes9 [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons