In today’s competitive job market it is vital that you distinguish yourself from other graduates and prove that you have experience which demonstrates your soft skills.

One way to improve your CV is by volunteering. If you are unemployed, this can also be a good use of your time and help you keep sane whilst looking for full-time employment!

What are the benefits?

There are number of benefits, which include:

  1. The chance to gain new skills and improve existing ones.
  2. Showing initiative – which looks good to employers.
  3. Broadening your horizons – learning more about different working environments and finding out more about what it is you value in the work that you do.
  4. Meeting new people, improving your communication skills and potentially making valuable industry contacts.
  5. Helping you to gain an accreditation.
  6. The chance to make a positive difference abroad or in your own community.

Improving your employability

These all help to improve your employability. TimeBank and reed.co.uk recently conducted a survey which showed that 84% of those responsible for hiring thought that volunteering could lead on to a paid job and 80% value volunteering on a CV, above hobbies (66%). The benefits also extend into your job, with over 70% of employers seeing those who have volunteered in the past gain higher salaries and more opportunities for promotion.

The volunteers themselves believe that placements can help improve their:

  • Communication skills (20%)
  • Team working abilities (19%)
  • Time management skills (10%).
‘When recruiting graduates for Marks and Spencer we look for the skills to help make them and our company successful. Volunteering can be a great way to develop those skills.’

 

Helen Feltham, Director UK Retail HR.

Improved wellbeing – an added benefit

Volunteering England and The University of Wales, Lampeter recently conducted a research review and found that those who took part in volunteer work benefited from improved health in comparison with those who didn’t.

In general, people who volunteered had longer life expectancies, improved mental health, improved fitness, better coping mechanisms during illnesses, and adopted healthier lifestyles. The research also concluded that volunteering had overall a positive impact on their wellbeing, for example in terms of their family relationships and self-esteem.

So what are you waiting for? Time to volunteer!

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