Volunteering

Why volunteer?

 

There are all sorts of factors that motivate people to get involved as a volunteer.

For many there is a genuine concern for the well-being of others and a belief that to get the most out of life, you need to contribute fully to society. However, there are other less obvious reasons why you might choose to volunteer and it is understandable to think about what you personally might get from this experience. Some of the benefits of volunteering include:

* develop existing skills or to gain new ones

* experience of working in a different environment

* opportunity to learn more about yourself and your capabilities

* gain more self-confidence

* the potential for relevant vocational training which could lead to a recognised qualification

* develop your networking skills by making new friends and developing contacts

* an insight into the work of a particular sector

* the intrinsic satisfaction of contributing to something you feel is worthwhile

* additional material for your CV and future job applications.

 

What you can bring to voluntary work

The term ‘voluntary’ doesn’t equate to ‘optional’. If you decide to get involved as a volunteer, your reliability and commitment to GreenBirds is crucial – we are relying on you and expect that you will take your responsibilities as an unpaid worker seriously. So be realistic about the sort of contribution you can make as a volunteer, alongside your existing work and personal commitments. Would the occasional ‘one off’ event or a short-term project best suit the time you have available, or are you able to make a regular, more long-term commitment? For the demanding voluntary opportunities, such as e-learning and web design, there will be a rigorous selection process that may require references.

Volunteering can be an excellent way to enhance your career prospects. To compete effectively in the current economic climate, and to enhance your employability, it’s crucial that you can provide evidence to employers of the transferable skills you possess, many of which can be gained as a volunteer. The competencies demanded by graduate recruiters commonly include.

* people skills – teamwork, good communication, networking and empathy

* management skills – leadership, use of initiative, delegation, planning and organising

* business skills – commercial awareness and an understanding of how organisations operate.

 

Selling your experience

 

Think carefully about how you will ‘sell’ this experience in your CV and future application forms. Voluntary work can give you an insight into an area of work, as well as developing your skills, qualities and experience. It will help your case if you explain to a prospective employer how you have researched your career ideas and made a positive decision about your future career goals. It shows commitment, and employers are impressed by individuals who give their time to worthwhile initiatives. In addition, undertaking some voluntary work enhances your CV, gives you access to useful contacts, and helps to develop your network of contacts. It might even get you noticed by a prospective employer.

Most employers look very favourably upon applicants who can, alongside other evidence provided in their application, show that they have worked as a volunteer. As well as indicating which organisation you volunteered with, it’s important to explain exactly what your responsibilities were, what you learnt and the skills you developed as a result. The transferable skills developed in voluntary work are applicable in most work situations.

For volunteering opportunities please contact: admin@greenbirds.co.uk