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.

Do you want to find out more about volunteering? Check out these resources on our website. You can also find great opportunities through the on-campus, Student Volunteering Centre. 


Image credit: Dhowes9 [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Posted in Student BloggersVolunteering