Seven Reasons Why You Should Volunteer More
Jess Connett explains why volunteering is way better than you think it is, and how being a volunteer can lead to getting your dream job*
*unlocking dream job achievement may not always be possible on first try
Work is great. Work gets you money, and money buys you all the things.
But, we all know that when it comes to getting the jobs you really want, not just the jobs you do for the money, the struggle is real.
One of the most ridiculous bits of job hunting is the reality that you need to have experience to get experience. Which seems like a chicken and egg situation. Don’t worry. One way to get that pesky experience is… VOLUNTEERING!
Don’t believe me? Allow me to convince you.
1. You can volunteer pretty much anywhere
Instead of waiting for jobs to come to you, take yourself straight to the company you most want to work for. Send an email and offer your time – most places will be open to it. They might even create a brand new voluntary role for you once they’ve seen how awesome you are. And, by getting your foot in the door, you’re in the perfect place to apply for paid jobs when they pop up.
2. People love volunteers
Volunteering comes with perks – like being patted on the back every five minutes and being constantly told that you’re a great person. Bosses often treat you way better than they would if you were a new starter in an entry-level position. Embrace it.
3. Volunteering is flexible
If you’re looking to improve a particular skill, volunteering can be a better way to do it than something like a college course. You’re getting the practical skills from learning on the job, you’re not tied into anything for months, and you can fit it around your job, education – and of course, your social life.
4. Volunteering is free
Spending all your money on the bus fare? Your travel expenses will usually be covered when travelling to and from volunteering opportunities. Some places will have other perks, from access to the all-important internal job vacancies list, to free food (genuinely).
5. Grow your network
Get ready to meet everyone and anyone who comes through the door. You never know who could be a useful connection in your next round of job applications. If your boss hears of an opportunity through someone they know, it’s in your interests to make sure they like you enough to tell you about it.
6. Learn the basics
You’ll learn tons at any volunteering placement – and the basics are just as important as the big stuff. At interviews, potential employers love to ask about working in a team, and doing admin tasks like keeping track of emails. And if you’re volunteering alongside full-time education or employment, this shows amazing time-management skills, which are dead important (if you’re doing it right).
7. Improve your CV
It’s obvious, but important. Knowing how to talk about jobs on your CV is basically an art form. Make sure you’re talking up the skills you learnt, and the fact that you did it because you are passionate and proactive and fabulous.
So good luck out there, I know it’s tough, but the more employable you can make yourself, the more chance you have of hitting the big time and being paid to do the things you love, AKA living the dream.
Find some great volunteering opportunities on Do It, Volunteer Bristol and Bristol Event Volunteers. And keep checking out Bristol Green Capital for the volunteering opportunities which will be popping up throughout 2015.
Are you a volunteer? Or do you think it’s a waste of time? Have you found other sneaky ways of gaining experience for your CV? Let us know: @rifemag