Volunteering takes commitment and dedication, however it is very rewarding in the long run. If you have experience as a volunteer, it shows you care and are interested in going the extra mile to support a worthy cause.
People volunteer to individuals and sometimes to organisations and companies. In all cases, one does gain some experience and it is important to document that. Volunteering looks good on one’s curriculum vitae (CV), but how does one make the experience relevant and add value to a job application?
This is a challenge for most of us, but there are a few tips to do this well.
- No doubt all the candidates will have the right qualifications. Increase your chances of being shortlisted by highlighting and giving examples of the benefits of and skills gained through volunteering.
- Volunteering proves you are capable of managing your time effectively, it is wise to state the time spent on voluntary work in ‘hours per week’ or ‘hours per month’.
- If you have been gathering work experience and giving up your free time, it can place you in good stead for nailing that job interview, as experience matters. Make sure you can discuss this in more detail by providing and noting down information about your volunteering programme. Why you chose to do it. Who did you work with? What did you do? What did you learn? How has this helped you? These questions are always an excellent place to start.
- Whilst you are volunteering try to gain valuable contacts you may be able to use in the future. Do not underestimate the power of that social capital you have. Don’t be afraid to ask your contacts questions to further develop your knowledge as well as for advice on what they can offer. You never know it could be a job opportunity or a contact they know that’s looking for someone just like you!
- Volunteering for organisations related to one’s career path adds value to the experience when it appears on one’s CV. One can also choose duties and responsibilities that contribute to skills development.
- Make sure that on both your application and your CV you mention a bit about the duties and responsibilities that you executed but most importantly, mention what you achieved and the skills you gained along the way.
Article by Courage Nyamhunga: Courage is a Child Protection Graduate Intern with Unicef Zimbabwe who is passionate about seeking new perspectives and challenging long-standing assumptions.
Main image taken from www.ancastercommunityservices.ca