By Mia Casey
While it can be hard to find time to take on extra work, volunteering is an extremely worthwhile pursuit when it comes to increasing your employability. Opening up the opportunity for you to build skills, forge new industry connections and positively impact your community, volunteering can be super helpful when it comes to applying for new jobs. Read on to find out how volunteering can help you!
Building relevant skills
Volunteering offers a great opportunity to build key skills employers look for in potential candidates. Depending on where you undertake the experience, volunteering can help you build important transferrable skills such as: teamwork, leadership, interpersonal communication, customer service, time management, organisation, initiative and self-motivation. Outside of this, having volunteer experience on your resume shows employers that you’re willing to work hard even if there is little personal reward!
Some volunteering opportunities, such as helping at industry events or industry-specific workplaces, can also provide skills relevant and sought after in your field. For example, charities often require volunteer organisers for fundraising events which can provide a great chance for Communications students to build upon the practical skills taught throughout their degrees. Practical application of the skills you are developing through your studies always looks great on your resume, and can form excellent examples for you to use later on in interviews. So despite this type of work being mostly unpaid, the experience offered can often be its own reward!
Working with new people, whether they’re in your field or not, can be a great way to build professional relationships and gain references! Volunteering opens the door to a wide range of people from fields you may not have the opportunity to work with in your own industry, and earning their appreciation and respect could prove valuable when you are looking for work in the future.
Many businesses partner with or sponsor certain charities and events, so if you have a few companies you wish to apply for in the future that don’t offer volunteering or internship opportunities within their own workplaces, it could be a good idea to volunteer for these related partners or sponsored occasions to forge new and relevant professional connections. If you can show a potential employer that you have a good background knowledge of the organisation, are willing to work hard and can also provide a reference from a related organisation, this could really help you stand out from the crowd when applying for a job!
Make a difference in your community
Volunteering allows you to positively impact your community and gain your own sense of personal satisfaction and accomplishment. Unlike many jobs, volunteering often allows you to directly see the impact and contribution you’re making to society. This in and of itself can be hugely rewarding and can improve your physical and mental wellbeing!
On a more professional level, many organisations have an active interest in building positive community perception so hiring people who share the same perspective paints you in an appealing light and helps you stand out to employers!
If you’re interested in discovering how YOU can get involved in your community, come along to the UTS:Careers’ Internship and Volunteering Fair this August as part of the Festival of Future You! Register now to save time queuing on the day, so you can spend it networking with leading professionals and discovering how you can gain experience and increase your employability!
Featured image courtesy of StockSnap.io