Employment

Volunteering – Is It Any Good?

In this post, I will introduce you to an industry that does not require you to have a specific degree, or the competitiveness for grades. What it does require though, is a tough individual who wants to gain some valuable skills, as well as make a difference to society. Why does one have to be tough? Add to the previous sentence that you won’t be paid for initial work. Yes, I am talking about Volunteering, a £21 billion industry in the UK, set to expand even more.

volunteering, benefits of volunteering

Why Volunteer?

Did You Do Volunteering?

I will be honest: I wasn’t a fan of the concept of Volunteering, until last year. However, ever since I did a year in industry placement, I realised that, in some aspects, I was ‘lucky’ to get a placement,  whilst others didn’t. It was then that I decided to work for students, in some capacity, to get more experience and knowledge that would help them. I felt the only way to do this was in a voluntary capacity.

I started off with setting up a RateMyPlacement Facebook page for the University of Leicester and aggregating internships on offer. I then offered my services to the Students Union as a Student Trustee, where a lot of work still needs to be done. Whilst in my final year, I also started blogging for my University in a voluntary capacity, and since then have gone on to start Career Geek Blog, which has other team members volunteering to blog and run the blog!

Why Volunteer?

All the above mentioned voluntary posts I have held are not paid, they are completely voluntary, and may be seen as slightly unorthodox options, I have to admit, but I enjoy(ed) all of them. Now you may ask, why? Well, firstly, because all three of them added some value to my CV, and being voluntary positions, they added a different dimension to my CV that employers could spot. I don’t think it’s necessarily the fact that you have worked without pay that impresses, but that you have gained valuable skills outside academia. Yes, you could be working part-time as well, but as I said earlier, I think it adds a different dimension to your experiences. Additionally, employers will see that you can work with different teams for short periods, and adapt quickly to fit in with the new work dynamics.

The second reason to volunteer is to genuinely make a difference to society, or to your local community. This blog itself is an example of volunteering satisfaction. We run this blog on a completely voluntary basis. And personally, knowing that the blog is being read by students and graduates, and may be helping some, genuinely makes it all worthwhile.

Want to Volunteer?

So, if you’ve never considered volunteering and all the benefits it offers, have a think about it again. It’s definitely given me a lot and my volunteering experience has been pretty enjoyable so far.

Every university has some volunteering society that you can be part of, and give some of your time to. At the same time, there are many opportunities that you can take advantage of online, such as Do-it organisation, and many others. If you would consider volunteering abroad, try SL Volunteers and Volunteer Uganda (music played on opening website), amongst others.

 

(A similar version of the post appears on Careers Service blog.) (Image 1: Credit)

4 Comments

  • Hi Faizan,

    Very interesting article on volunteering. Aside from the benefits of volunteering looking good on your CV, it’s also a good way to give back to community. We offer various projects in South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya etc where people have the opportunity to work with orphans, help communities to improve their education/infrastructure/health services and more

  • […] every piece of experience you list on your resume needs to be a full-time, paid position. Volunteer experience, such as working with a student group, holding a leadership position on-campus, or assisting a […]

  • Volunteering is a great way for students to gain experience but I would say really consider your commitment before choosing to volunteer for a charity. A lot of charities rely on volunteers to assist them in the great work thy do.

    Do-it.org is a good website or visit your local volunteer centre. For volunteering abroad, BUNAC http://www.bunac.org/bunastories.aspx have some good stories on the programmes they offer.

    I work full time as a careers adviser but also volunteer for Make a Wish and I love this role.