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Career Advice

The Benefits of Volunteering

We live in an ever more competitive world, and never is this more keenly demonstrated than when it comes to employment.  

The days when a solid education and a smattering of ‘real world’ experience were enough to land you in the role of your choice are long gone. As a result, the modern job seeker needs a more comprehensive arsenal with which to slay the competition, and one of the best weapons at any would-be employee’s disposal, is a record of volunteering.

Of course any kind of volunteer work will be beneficial to your cause, but sometimes the most impressive and indeed useful, can be the experience gained whilst working beyond the shores of your own country, living alongside and providing your unpaid services to people who are in great need.

We have discussed several times before, the benefits that can come from volunteering in general, now I think it’s time we take a look at some of the essential skills and life experience that can be gained from volunteering abroad.

It changes your perspective on the world

Volunteering gives you a great opportunity to see parts of the world that you perhaps never would have
africa farmingencountered otherwise.  Off the much beaten ‘gap year’ track, lies the world as it really is; the cultures, the people, the stories, the music, all the things that every traveller hopes to experience, but so few ever do.

It all sounds very dramatic, but to an employer, the fact that you have volunteered amongst the ‘real people’ of a country means that (rightly or wrongly) your world view is more developed than your counterparts who have not.

Mark Twain describes this effect, rather elegantly:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime”

It’s the experience of a life-time.

Think about it, have you ever heard anyone who has come back from volunteering abroad telling people volunteeringhow much they hated it?

No, of course you haven’t, that’s because the vast majority of people have such a wonderful time, it’s all they can do not to shout it from the roof tops when they return.

Check out ICS volunteer abroad website to find out the fantastic volunteering opportunities available abroad.

It Can Reignite your passion

For young people today, it can feel as though life is little more than an endless parade of education, exams, work experience, and job applications. With all this going on it is very easy to become totally disillusioned with the whole thing.

Volunteering abroad will give you the space and time to consider the world and its people beyond the little bubble of your home life. This can be a really useful step to take whilst you are in the process of deciding what you would like to spend the rest of your life doing.
A fresh perspective may well reignite your passion and introduce you to fresh and exciting ways that you might like to spend your time.

Take a look at the below infographic, which says that 74% of people who volunteered with ICS regarded it as the exclusive, or main reason why they later choose the career path that they did.

It helps to develop your skills

A substantial length of time spent volunteering abroad will inevitably result in the growth of the skills that your world 2you already have, and the development of some new ones. The specific skills that you might develop will depend on the type of volunteer work that you are engaged in, but within most placements, certain skills
are pretty much a guarantee. These can include communication, organisation, ability to work in and contribute to a team, independent work, creative thinking, problem solving, time management, and so forth.

All skills which are highly prized in today’s competitive employment market.

It gives you something different to talk about

From a purely social point of view, you will have experiences when volunteering abroad that will fascinate your peers. On a more practical level, the ability to talk about something other than mundane work experience and education within an interview setting, could really give you a chance to stand out from the crowd. Having experiences like this tucked under your belt will give you vastly more interesting ways to dazzle a potential employer, and make it more  likely that they will remember your name amongst a sea of very similar candidates.

Gain employability skills and experience from volunteering abroad Infographic
Source: Employability skills gained from volunteering abroad with ICS

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