Five reasons why volunteering is great for your career

The skills and personal attributes that companies are looking for when recruiting have changed considerably as the UK market continues to evolve. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a key consideration for hiring managers and directors. Similarly, candidates are keen to work for businesses that are promoting ethical and sustainable enterprises. Having a solid diversity and inclusion structure in place is a crucial part of the fabric of any workforce. This means that volunteering experience is no longer seen as an ‘extra’, but as a valuable quality on an application. Including this experience could be what sets you apart from other shortlisted candidates.

Many companies run volunteering programmes, providing their employees with the opportunity to take a day or two off with full pay to volunteer for a charity or other not-for-profit organisation of their choice. Volunteering provides the chance to gain experiences and skills that a regular working environment can’t provide. Employers consider volunteering to be an asset, as they understand that exposure to different environments and working practices have practical application in the workplace.

The benefits of volunteering

If you are considering volunteer work, here are some of the key benefits of volunteering:

1. Trying out different industries

If you are looking for ways to help grow your career, then volunteering can allow you the opportunity to explore different industries that may have been out of your reach.  For example, you could volunteer at your local theatre, hospital or community center to get exposure to areas that interest you, whilst helping others at the same time.

2. Learning new skills 

It is important to continually work on your own personal development. Volunteering could give you the chance to learn new skills in areas outside of your remit. For example, helping to organise a fundraiser could give you planning and budgeting skills. Furthermore, dealing with different kinds of people will also be beneficial for your interpersonal and relationship building skills, which can help with networking in your professional career.

3. Networking 

Volunteering offers a great opportunity to develop personal and professional relationships, as volunteer work attracts people from all walks of life. Meeting and connecting with people in this unique environment is a great way to build lasting relationships. You never know who you might come across and how they could help with your career growth in the future.

4. Keeping yourself grounded

It’s very easy to get wrapped up in your own professional development and begin to take your life for granted. Volunteering can open your eyes to different ways of living, and the importance of helping others in any way that you can. Volunteering can revitalise your mindset and give you a refreshed positive attitude.

5. Gaining experience

If you aren’t looking for a new career, but are looking to further your knowledge and experience outside of your current organisation, volunteering can be a great way to do this. For example, sitting on a not for profit board can expand your professional skill set in a way that differs from the norm, and that you may not have had the chance to experience otherwise.

How to present volunteer experience on your CV

Your volunteer experience is something to be proud of, don’t hide it away at the end of your CV. Incorporate your professional volunteer work into your paid employment history. This allows your potential employer to see how you’ve fit your experience into your working life, and how regularly you are volunteering. 

If you are applying for a new role, it is important to take the relevant expertise you have gained from your volunteer work and include these in the skills section at the top of your resume. That way, if you are invited to an interview, you will be able to provide a variety of different examples to outline your top skills. Hiring managers consider volunteering as a valuable advantage when recruiting. It shows that you are proactive, driven, and enthusiastic to develop your skills.

Don’t forget to include a paragraph on your volunteer experience in your background summary on your LinkedIn profile.

How to find volunteering opportunities 

If you are keen to get involved with a volunteering opportunity, here are a few ways to get started.

  • Follow the not for profit organisations that you are interested in on social media and update your profile to highlight that you are interested in opportunities to volunteer.
  • It is International Volunteer Day on the 5th December, begin searching for volunteering opportunities.
  • The National Pro Bono Centre can help you to find pro bono work in your field, and show you different volunteering opportunities to get involved in.

There are so many benefits to volunteering. You can get exposure to new fields of work, develop new skills and broaden your network. If you are interested in getting involved in volunteering, follow the links above. Alternatively, if you are looking for a new career opportunity in your field get in touch with one of our specialist recruitment consultants today.

Looking to grow your career this year?

Download our career development toolkit for expert advice.

Download your toolkit today

Try out our job match tool

Take a look through similar roles in your sector to see what else is on offer. 

Try out our tool

Where next on your professional journey?

Find out what your next career move should be with our quick and easy quiz 

Take our quiz