In an increasingly competitive job market, there is a growing need for jobseekers to stand out from the crowd and if you have some spare time on your hands, one of the ways you can do this is by looking at the benefits that volunteering can offer.
According to Volunteering England, 71% of adults volunteer in some way with 47% volunteering at least once a month*. There are many reasons that people give for volunteering. For some, volunteering can be a route to employment, or a chance to try something new.
Volunteering gives you the unique opportunity to learn new skills, gain invaluable experience or even be awarded an accreditation, all of which goes towards enhancing your CV, and of course you give back something to the local community – the benefits of which can help you on your next career path.
Don’t underestimate the potential to gain practical experience in such areas as IT, administration, media and organisational skills, with further opportunities to take up training and educational courses too.
What do potential employers think about volunteering?
With many organisations recognising the value and benefits of volunteer work, many have set up their own programmes, encouraging employees to help in the local community. When Barclays Bank surveyed the benefits of their volunteer programme it found that 61% of managers found staff communication skills were improved, and 56% saw improved leadership skills in participants of the programme.
87% of employers think that volunteering can have a generally positive effect on career progression for people aged 16-25**, and with 86 % of employers ranking “positive attitude” and “employability” (which includes skills such as team-working and communication) in their top three demands*** maybe it’s time you thought about volunteering in your spare time?
For further information on how you can get involved in volunteering see the Volunteering England website – www.volunteering.org.uk – where you will find advice and can undertake a local search of volunteering opportunities.
* 2008/09 DCLG Citizenship Survey
** Youth Volunteering: Attitudes and Perceptions, 2008, v
*** CBI, 2008