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Career Advice

Volunteering – the alternative way to improve your employability

It’s no secret that finding the job you deserve is tough in this day and age.  Whether you’re changing jobs to pursue a new direction, returning to work after a career break or you’ve just graduated, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd in the competitive job market.

If you find yourself submitting applications and not getting anywhere and you’re struggling to find work experience, volunteervolunteering is fast becoming the better alternative. Volunteer work is so diverse and readily available that you can find an opportunity to suit your schedule, interests and lifestyle. What’s more, the skills and experience from volunteering immediately make you more employable and enhance your CV.

Here are 3 reasons why volunteering appeals to employers:

Commitment & responsibility

By volunteering your spare time to a worthy cause, employers gauge that you’re a responsible and committed person. Chances are that if you dedicate your free time willingly for your interests and passions, you will apply the same commitment in the workplace, which is only an asset to a company. If you’re out of work, volunteering also shows that you’ve been productive with your time and taken responsibility for your career rather than waiting for a job to come to you.

Leadership & teamwork

If you can demonstrate leadership and teamwork to a prospective employer, you will most likely find yourself invited to interview. Employers need to know that a new employee will work effectively within their team, but they will equally consider if you have the potential to take on a managerial role and progress through the company in the future.  Volunteer work with an organisation like the Army Cadet Force offers many opportunities to hone your leadership and teamwork, and immediately employers can recognise these skills on a CV. You could find yourself leading a camping expedition up in the Scottish Highlands or participating in outdoor activities and sports on a beach in Devon – there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer with young people throughout the UK.

Communication skills

Communication is key when you’re looking for a new job. You need to be able to articulate yourself well in interviews, and then once you’ve landed a new job, you will probably be writing emails, liaising on the phone with customers or speaking to colleagues on a daily basis. Volunteer work gives you an opportunity to practise and perfect your communication skills and boost your confidence when talking to new people – it shows employers that you can work well outside your comfort zone.

And don’t forget to shout about your skills from volunteering…

Following on from point number 3, make sure you tell potential employers about the skills you’ve picked up from volunteering. Detail the volunteer work on your CV, add skills from volunteering to your LinkedIn profile and talk about your experiences at an interview.

This is a guest post for TheEmployable


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