Volunteer to Career
As a volunteer, not only are you helping your local community, you are also helping yourself. You will be amazed at the skills and knowledge you have acquired whilst you have been busy helping others.
Benefits of Volunteering
Job hunting is never easy at any stage in life, whether it be when leaving university, returning to work after a period of absence or considering a career change. As a volunteer, you have a head start on other candidates because:
- Experience – you will have experience to draw on for job applications and for an interview. It gives you something to talk about
- Get your foot in the door – by volunteering in the industry you wish to work in, you will be gaining valuable experience. There is also the potential to hear about employment opportunities first
- Networking – you will be getting to know professionals who work in the industry you want to work in. They could share their knowledge and expertise and you may be able to volunteer on projects
- Show your skills – volunteering gives you the opportunity to prove yourself, your reliability, commitment, punctuality, and other skills
- Confidence – you will be learning new skills whilst volunteering, which will enable you to be grow in confidence, both in your abilities and promoting your competencies
Learning and Development
What have you learnt as a volunteer? We bet you will be surprised. Here are some examples of learning and development you might have undertaken in your volunteer role.
- Read a volunteer guidance document
- Researched a new task
- Asked for guidance on a new responsibility from a fellow volunteer or coordinator
- Attended a meeting or meetings
- Completed online learning
- Attended a webinar or watched them on ‘catch up’
Let's look at our Community Volunteers as an example, and see some of the skills you can acquire by completing community tasks.
Include Volunteering on your CV or Job Application
- Evidences 'real world' experience
- It's important if you have limited work experience
- Shows you are improving and enhancing your skills
- Transferable skills gained can be beneficial
- You can include volunteering in the professional experience section of your CV or add a section at the end
- Connect your volunteer experience to relevant skills for the position you are applying for
Help with your CV - Template examples
What does volunteering show potential employers?
- You’re willing to learn new things
- You spend your time proactively
- You care about a cause and your community
- You are keen to grow, in your learning and experience
- Visit the Volunteer Centre Dorset website to find other volunteering opportunities to enhance your skills and experience
- Check the jobs page on Dorset Council's website to find local opportunities
- If you are looking for a role in the charity sector, Charity Job's website is a great place to start. Charityworks's website also has details of the UK non-profit sector's graduate scheme
- There are also the generic recruitment websites, such as Indeed
Food for Thought
Have a think about what you have achieved:
- Were there any surprises, things you’d learnt without realising?
- Have you learnt any new skills which have come in handy in other parts of your life?
- What new skills can you learn next?