- Gain work experience
It’s a fact that employers look more favourably upon candidates with a combination of qualifications and experience than they do on those with qualifications alone. One of the most common questions I'm asked by graduates and career changers is how to gain practical work experience when no one is prepared to give you a go? Short of finding an entry-level role or internship, volunteering is one of the best ways to gain practical work skills and experience.
- Professional development
As a volunteer, it's likely you'll gain access to professional development opportunities since many hosts provide free training for volunteers. This could take the form of accredited training or it could be informal, in-house induction type training required before you can perform your volunteer role. Either way, any new skills or knowledge you gain are a bonus and should be included in your CV.
- Network and build contacts
In addition to gaining practical work skills, volunteering also provides an opportunity for you to network and build industry connections. Many volunteers go on to secure paid work as a direct result of their volunteer work, some are even hired by their host employer.
Define what you want from volunteering
Not all volunteer roles are arranged through agencies. If an organisation you want to volunteer with doesn't have placements listed with an agency, try contacting them directly to see if they have volunteering opportunities or would be willing to arrange something for you.