February 14, 2020, by pmyah17
Why Volunteering Should Be The Next Thing You Do
By Andrew Hunter, first year mathematics and economics student blogger
It is becoming increasingly more difficult to attain valuable work experience with well-known firms in your chosen industry of work. That’s why volunteering is important as it can play such a big part in standing out from the crowd, helping you to succeed in applications for work placements or insight weeks.
I first got involved with volunteering before Christmas when I received an email from the University of Nottingham asking for volunteers to help out at Oxfam in Beeston. The role involved sorting out Christmas donations and helping out on the shop floor.
What I learnt:
Working in a shop was my first job of that type, so I learnt brand new skills that I’d never had previous experience of before. This ranged from how to work on the till, to interacting with different customers. The skills and experience I gained will be really useful for future applications and CVs for other roles.
Working in a new environment means also working with new people. I worked with a diverse range of co-workers on the day which helped improve and develop my teamwork and communication skills. It has helped me understand how to communicate in different ways in order to complete tasks in the most efficient way.
Arguably the most important thing I learnt from my day at Oxfam, was that it takes a small amount of effort to create a vast amount of inner satisfaction for me personally. But it also makes a huge difference to a charity that relies on volunteers. Spending a day out of my comfort zone has also increased my self-confidence. Naturally I am an introvert, but now I feel comfortable volunteering my time in new environments. I will definitely be on the lookout for other opportunities to volunteer because of the benefits I have gained from the experience.
How it could help your career:
Generally speaking, volunteer opportunities tend to have a friendly atmosphere. This means you can have easy, genuine, engaging, and interesting conversations with the people you are working with. Volunteering may create networking opportunities for you to explore. Who knows, the other volunteers may have friends or family members who work in the industry that you are interested in.
Developing your CV
Putting volunteering on your CV adds another dimension to it. It shows you are a driven and motivated team member. It also demonstrates to future employers that you are willing to put in effort without financial reward, which will make you stand out from other candidates.
Having the experience from volunteering also gives you extra experience for you to talk about in an interview, you can talk about the skills you gained and may provide example answers to questions you may be asked. For someone who struggles and can be daunted by interviews, this is a great added benefit. In addition, when was the last time you heard someone complain about a person being too helpful and community-minded? Many companies have a strong social responsibility core, and showing your inner charitable side may display a good cultural fit for the company you wish to work for.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my volunteering experience. It has given me extra confidence, taught me new skills that are attractive to employers, as well as better preparing me for interviews. I would highly recommend trying out volunteering, even if just for an afternoon. It can be really easy to find volunteering opportunities, and if you enjoyed it as much as me then it can become a regular thing!
Explore volunteering advice and opportunities that suit your interests.