When you’re trying to get a job, the idea of working for no money seems kinda counterintuitive. But sometimes doing just that can boost your CV and push you ahead of the competition. Here are 5 ways that doing good, can be good for your CV (and for you):
Get experience in an area you want to work in
Starting out? Changing careers? This can be pretty daunting when you have no experience of what you’re getting into. From construction to medicine, volunteering can give you hands-on experience of an area that you’re interested in. Whether you build a school in Ecuador, help local artisans start businesses in India, or lend a hand in the office of your local healthcare clinic, volunteering is a great way to get your hands dirty, or even just observe more experienced people at work. When you walk into that interview you can talk from experience about what you like (or find challenging) about the industry or job you want and show that you know what you’re getting into.
Get the skills you need for the job you want
Depending on the role and needs of where you volunteer, your experience can give you real skills for the job you want. Maybe you will learn about talking to diverse groups of people (an essential in any office), or office administration. It will definitely hone your organisational skills – because just by turning up, you’ve managed to find time to give back between school, work, holidays, life. And when most of us can’t organize a catch up with besties, that’s pretty impressive.
Show your passion for the area you want to work in
Say you’re fresh outta uni, and you apply for the dream first job. How good is it to not only say that you’re super passionate about helping people but you can also list an example or two of how you did just that? (Never interviewed? Trust us. It’s good.) Finding ways to show off who you are and what you’re into, is way better than just telling the person. Be your own proof, if you’re into food, and can say that you’ve worked in a kitchen helping disadvantaged people, it’s much more meaningful than just saying you like food. (Because tbh, don’t we all?)
Show that there’s more to you than just work
As a society we spend a lot of time at work, and no one wants to spend late nights with someone that doesn’t have the same vibe. Being someone who other people want to work with is often half the battle. Especially when you may not have that key bit of experience to set you apart. Volunteering shows that there’s more to you than work or school. It can show that you are passionate about other things, and you know the importance of finding time for those things. This can be a key distinction between you and someone else who’s hobbies include hitting the couch, Netflix on. (Though maybe drop that one in too if you want to work for Netflix…)
Boost your confidence!
Volunteering is undeniably a feel-good experience. And those warm and fuzzies you’re feeling are also a pretty good confidence booster. You’ll be able to think back to how your skills (or the ones you learnt), time and effort contributed to making a difference to someone’s life. And when you have that confidence in your abilities, it shows. Not only are we all naturally drawn to people with confidence (and want to work with them), you’ll also stand out from the crowd in your interview.
If you do get the opportunity to volunteer there are a few things I’d say. It’s not always about what you did. It’s about what you learned from your experience. So even if it’s not what you thought it was going to be – you should be sure to look back and reflect on your experience. Keep a journal of your volunteering – note down the things you did, skills you learned, and the challenges you faced (plus what you learned from them).The good, the bad and the ugly. Reflecting upon your time volunteering will help you talk about how the experience relates to your dream job, write about them in your CV and help you smash the interview. Dream job – here you come.