Volunteering is not only a chance to give back to your local communities but also an opportunity to broaden your life experiences. I can assure you that you’ll get more out of it than you put in, especially if you learn how to sell the skills you’ve developed. Here are five reasons why everyone should get involved with some sort of volunteering during their time at university:
Volunteering makes you stand out
Volunteering looks great on your CV. Engaging with an outside organisation and showing that you’re willing to dedicate your free time to help others will give you an advantage in the recruitment process. Employers are looking for people with more than just a degree, and your volunteering experience may even be the deciding factor between you and another candidate who has exactly the same work experience and qualifications as you. What’s more, many companies actively promote their involvement with the local community and if your CV shows that you’re on the same wavelength, you’re more likely to attract the right attention.
It makes you more employable
The skills that you develop when you volunteer are similar to the ones you acquire in the workplace. However, by using your time to volunteer you’re also showing employers that you can think outside of the box – developing useful skills, managing your time and demonstrating a strong work ethic. It also gives you a unique selling point in interviews – because you’ve done something different meaning you’ll be ready to answer those difficult questions. it’ll also give you a range of different experiences to draw on during competency-based interviews – and you can make a good impression by talking about things other than work and university. It also shows that you are passionate about something and that you have a desire and enthusiasm to help – all great qualities to have!
It’s great for personal development
The more you expose yourself to the outside community, the more your confidence will grow. Volunteering takes you away from the university bubble and lets you build relationships with people outside of your social circle. In terms of personal development, it will expose you to a range of different situations and circumstances that you’ll have to deal with in the right way. When similar problems arise in the future, you can draw on your own experiences to solve them.
It will make you feel good
Whether it’s reading to young children before your lectures start or spending an hour or two helping out with senior citizens one evening, you’ll feel good about yourself and what you’re doing. Volunteering gives you a sense of self-worth because you’re giving back to the community. And there are other benefits. Volunteering reduces stress, it teaches you new skills and broadens your circle of friends, and for the few hours you’re concentrating on the well-being of others, you won’t be stressing about yourself and your problems. In addition, it will give you added motivation and offer a sense of achievement like nothing else – and it’s free!
It’s easy to get involved with – and flexible!
Whereas internships and work placements are a little harder to secure, volunteering opportunities are endless and are more than likely available right on your doorstep! Weekends, week nights, mornings, or afternoons – you’re bound to find an activity to suit your schedule, which makes volunteering easy and flexible. What’s more, most universities have a Student Volunteering Service with a team dedicated to finding opportunities based in the local community, so you may not even have to go out of the way to find yourself a group or organisation!
Whether it’s filling a gap in your CV or getting experience in the sector you want to work in, the benefits of taking up volunteering far outweigh the time you’ll dedicate towards it. So what are you waiting for? Take a look at the opportunities available to you today and start building that CV. If you’re in a position to combine volunteering with an internship or graduate job here at Enterprise, we’d love to hear from you.