In the final instalment in our article on volunteering, we’ll take a look at how Volunteering can help your career. It doesn’t matter if you are working full or part time, or not working at all – if you are looking at starting a new career or gaining experience you need for your current job, being a volunteer will give you the opportunity to gain new skills. From learning skills you need in practically any workplace – task management, problem solving, working as a team, communication and organisational skills to new skills. Spending some time volunteering helps you not only gain new skills, but the confidence to use these new skills in the workplace.
Looking for your first job or a change of careers volunteering gives you the opportunity to try out a new career while not making any long term commitments. It’s a great way to gain experience doing something different and most importantly the chance to see if it really is for you. In some fields you can volunteer directly with a company or organisation you are most interested in – for example if nursing is a field that interests you – you could volunteer at a local nursing home or hospital to gain experience and insight into what is involved, before making the commitment to Uni.
You will find you have the opportunity to learn useful job skills. Just because you don’t get paid to volunteer doesn’t mean that some companies or organisations don’t provide extensive training. For example you could become an art historian while volunteering at a museum, or a crisis counsellor while volunteering at a women’s shelter.
Being a volunteer can also help you build on skills you already posses that can benefit your charity or organisation. You might have a very good sales assistant job, and in your spare time you volunteer to raise awareness for your favourite cause – RSPCA, Cancer etc. Volunteering in this capacity could help you develop better skills in marketing, communication and public speaking.
What skills do you need to be a volunteer – none! While you can learn valuable skills you don’t necessarily have to have any special skills to bring to the volunteer position. What you can and do bring to the charity or organisation is compassion, a positive attitude, an open mind and the desire to do anything that is needed.
Before jumping in feet first take some time to consider what your interests and goals are – consider why you want to be a volunteer? What is it you enjoy doing? What is it you hope to learn or experience? You then need to consider what organisation or charity can help you fulfill those needs or interests – trying to match your interests and goals to the right volunteering opportunity will make your time there more fun and fulfilling for you both. Try and match your personality and interest to the organisation – here are a few simple questions that can help you narrow down your search…..
Want to do something you are good at?
Want to make things better around where you, live?
Want to do something that matches with your interests and hobbies?
Want to meet people who are different from you?
Want to try something new?
Want to do something with your spare time?
Want to try something that is along the lines of work you want to do as a full time job?
Have you decided to give volunteering a go following our articles? We’d love to hear your stories, so let us know.