How voluntary work can make you more employable
There are a number of things you could do to make your CV stand out and showcase a comprehensive set of employment skills. Brains in your head, feet in your shoes, and a diploma in hand may be a great outset but voluntary work offers you wonderful opportunities for professional development and personal growth.
You may not receive a salary, but it can be extremely rewarding to give back to your community and it will look great on your CV. So, whether you’re looking to enhance your career or just setting out on your career path, voluntary work is a great choice and there are plenty of opportunities out there.
Improve your strengths and weaknesses
It is a great way to discover your strengths and weaknesses, whilst at the same time working on them. Pick an organisation where you will have the chance to refine the skills you need for the career you are interested in. For example, if you’re pursuing a career as a doctor, volunteering at a health centre will enable you to immerse yourself in an environment where valuable knowledge and experience will be gained. Even if you’re doubting your current degree or career choice, doing voluntary work in an area you’re interested in, could open up new avenues for you to explore and help you decide if that’s really where you want to be.
Retain your old skills and develop new ones
Sometimes job duties change, and you may no longer be using skills you used to do when performing tasks. Volunteering is a perfect way for keeping those skills sharp and current. Take language skills for example. Voluntary work can help you practice a foreign language you don’t get the chance to practice at work while contributing to the greater good.
Make your resume or application stand out
When you apply for a job, your CV or application ends up in a pile of hundreds of applicants. With so much competition, what sets you apart? It turns out, voluntary work can give you an edge as employers and college admissions advisors value candidates who engage in volunteer opportunities. These service acts prove you have the desire to improve society, understand the needs of others, and are passionate about building relationships.
Volunteering offers the opportunity to network and get to know people. Connecting with other professionals could open doors for you, as they may tell you about new job openings, introduce you to others in the field or give you a reference.
Fill in resume gaps
If you’re between jobs, volunteering is a great way to stay busy and fill in gaps. This will demonstrate to employees that you’re not only dedicated to your community but also willing to continually learn and that you haven’t been sitting idle whilst job hunting.
Volunteering can offer a great chance to test the water in your chosen profession. That way you can make sure, it suits your capabilities and perhaps you uncover areas you may need to focus on improving.
How to include voluntary work in your CV
If you already have some voluntary experience, here are some quick tips on how you can integrate and highlight it on your resume…
Avoid the title volunteer – The focus on your CV should be more on the type of work you did and the results, rather than whether you were paid or not. Describe your experience through an accurate title, representing exactly what you did. You can mention the fact you volunteered in the job description.
Focus on results and achievements – Highlight the results you achieved while volunteering and make sure you tailor them to the job you’re applying for. Link that to the soft skills, you’ve gained.
Only include what’s important – You may have a lot of volunteering experience but if you’re running out of space, it’s probably time to cut down on the roles you’re mentioning. Bear in mind the optimum length of a resume is 2 pages and your voluntary work aims to complement your professional experience, not distract from it.
With the job market becoming increasingly competitive, volunteering is a great way to prove you’re willing to further your skills. All employers who advertise their job vacancies on Zoek, value that. So, head over to our job board, check out our opportunities and apply for your dream role today!
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