If you’re about to graduate and are worried about the lack of work experience on your resume, have you considered volunteering? Work experience doesn’t necessarily have to be paid to be valuable, nor does it have to be in the same industry you eventually hope to work in.
Volunteering is also a wonderful way to help others, and can show potential employers that you’re a hard worker with a fantastic community spirit.
Read on to find out more about the benefits of volunteering:
The great thing about volunteering is that if you give a little, you’ll gain a lot. But remember, a lot of that benefit is built on authenticity, so while it is OK to have more than one reason for volunteering, at least part of your motivation should be a desire to give back.
Gaining experience and learning new skills
The experience and new skills you gain from volunteering can be just as valuable to employers as paid employment, especially early on in your career, or if you are not currently working and are applying for new roles. It shows initiative, enthusiasm and a spirit of generosity – fantastic traits to see in a job applicant.
Meeting new people
By getting out there and volunteering your time, you’ll be meeting new people, making new friends and expanding your network. Not only will you have new connections, if you do a good job you may even have new referees.
Supporting a cause
Passionate about a cause? Actively support it. Your involvement – be it through spreading the word on social media and raising awareness, getting petitions signed, or packaging care parcels - could lead to a paid role within that organisation, or possibly a community relations-type role with a big corporate. It could even lead to a change of career, and new opportunities you may not have previously considered. Again, show your support without expectations of reward, and who knows what doors it may open? Be aware that publicly supporting a controversial or polarising cause may show up in recruiter searches and limit your opportunities, so use common sense before making any public statements.
What can you do and how can you get involved?
There are so many organisations out there that would really appreciate an extra pair of hands. You can arrange fundraising events, work in an op shop, visit people in hospital or aged care, help out with their bookkeeping – there are lots of ways to help. Check out the websites of causes you are passionate about to find out how you can get involved. If you're interested in volunteering and don't know where to start there are many online resources you can explore.
Volunteering has some fantastic benefits – not only will you be helping others, you may be helping your own career prospects. Let potential employers see how hard-working and dedicated you are – become a volunteer today!
Please check your local regulations before undertaking any unpaid work - such as an internship, work experience or voluntary position.