This Volunteering Week, Leeds Beckett Careers would like to tell you more about how volunteering is a valuable way to gain new skills that will benefit you in your future career. You can contact Leeds Beckett Careers to support you in writing CVs, developing a good online presence, helping with interviews, and searching for jobs! Here are five reasons whyLeeds Beckett Careers would recommend that you volunteer during your time at Leeds Beckett University
This Volunteering Week, Leeds Beckett Careers would like to tell you more about how volunteering is a valuable way to gain new skills that will benefit you in your future career. You can contact Leeds Beckett Careers to support you in writing CVs, developing a good online presence, helping with interviews, and searching for jobs!
What do you think about when you hear the word volunteering? Bucket collection, fundraising or helping out at your local charity shop? It’s true – the very heart of volunteering is giving back to a cause you are passionate about and supporting others, but there is much more to volunteering than the stereotype of raising money or giving up a few spare hours each week.
These days, there’s a real variety of volunteering roles on offer from social media support, researcher to project coordinator, and each comes with the chance to learn new skills and help you stand out in a competitive graduate market.
Here are five reasons why Leeds Beckett Careers would recommend that you volunteer during your time at Leeds Beckett University:
1. Gain experience to add to your CV
You’ve likely heard it before. Companies are looking for people with experience. But how do you get experience when you’ve been busy studying, revising for exams, and holding down a part-time job – all while trying to make the most of your time at university?
Volunteering might be the answer. Whether you’re tutoring, fundraising, getting involved with community projects or supporting a local charity with their social media, you’re getting hands-on experience of working with people, in a professional setting.
So, when you next get asked a tricky interview question about a time that you used your initiative or overcame a challenge, you’ll be able to draw upon examples from your volunteering to impress the panel and demonstrate you have the experience they’re looking for.
2. Develop key skills employers want to see
Teamwork, communication, and problem-solving abilities are just a few examples of the soft skills employers want to see, no matter what sector you’re interested in.
You'll develop key transferable skills as you get experience working on real life projects with others. Plus, volunteering while at university requires time management skills as you juggle your studies and other commitments.
Employers are well aware of this. By highlighting this on your CV, you’re showing that you’re organized and driven - key attributes employers want to see in graduates.
Top tip: volunteering is a great way to fill a skills gap if you’re wanting to gain experience in a certain field. Find out what skills are needed for the career you’re interested in, analyse your existing skills and find out what areas you need to develop. Then seek out a voluntary role that will help you develop these skills and plug the gaps.
Volunteering is always worthwhile – for both you and the organisation you choose to support. But volunteering within the field you’re interested in working in can connect you to professionals who can share their knowledge with you, answer questions you might have and help introduce you to people in the industry. Who knows? You might end up meeting your future colleagues through volunteering.
Top tip: there will be lots of people you can learn from during your time volunteering – staff, managers, fellow volunteers. Be inquisitive, ask questions, and remember that everyone there has a similar passion in common and will be more than happy to share their knowledge with you. Don’t forget to add people on LinkedIn afterwards so you can stay in touch and build your professional network.
4. Get access to training opportunities
Many organisations understand people volunteer to learn new things, and they're more than happy to support you with this by signing you up for training, webinars and their in-house Learning and Development programme.
Volunteering in the social care or charity sector will usually require you to take part in training such as safeguarding, mental health awareness and equality, diversity and inclusion. Being able to add these skills to your LinkedIn profile or CV is priceless when looking for work.
5. Show employers your passion
Employers want to work with well-rounded individuals and taking time out of your busy schedule to volunteer shows that you’re ambitious and passionate.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve chosen to fundraise, mentor children, or help out at your local food bank – you clearly have a desire to help others and that’s a great quality to have!
We hope we’ve convinced you that volunteering is a great way to build your experience. Beckett Careers understands that planning your first career steps can be daunting so we have lots of other ways we can support. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and see how we can help. For more info about volunteering at Leeds Beckett Students' Union, click here.