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Why Volunteering Looks Good On Your CV

Updated on January 17, 2011

Volunteering and Job Prospects

Volunteering, i.e. working for free, may not immediately seem to be the most obvious way of improving your job prospects, but in reality it's one of the best multi-pronged attacks you can use to find a job - or a better job, and volunteer work looks good on a CV.

Being a volunteer means giving up your time to do something for someone else or an organisation. It's generally part time and frequently there are enough opportunities that you can find something that fits exactly with what you want.

These days there are voluntary work opportunities in almost every sector so whether you want to work with animals, help children with their reading or organise charity events the chances are there will be an opportunity to suit you and a charity or organisation crying out for your help.

So how does that improve your job prospects and help you find work? ... . Well, there are so many ways it would take a encyclopaedia to cover them all, but the main ones are covered below.

Volunteer Work ~ People, People Everywhere, So Use Them

There is a guy I know whose favourite phrase is 'You don't know who you don't know'. He uses it in a business networking context but it works just as well in job hunting. The more people you come into contact with the more you improve your job prospects.

Statistically it is said that 80% of jobs are not advertised, and it doesn't take a genius to realise that one of the reasons they're not being advertised it's because people constantly say to each other 'I know someone who'd be great for that job'. People put people in touch with each other so it stands to reason that the more people you are in contact with, who know you're looking for a job, the more chance you have of coming across someone who knows of a job opening that would suit you.

Please bear in mind I am not saying you should walk up to everyone you meet while volunteering and say 'Hello, I'm Fred and I need a job', that won't do you any favours. However as you get to know people your reasons for volunteering will come up in conversation and there is nothing wrong with saying that you're looking for opportunities.

Volunteering Can Improve Your Employment Skills

Everyone has skills they can improve on, be it communication, technical skills, organisational skills or social skills. Doing volunteer work can give you a perfect opportunity to brush up your skill set and maybe learn some new ones.

If you want to improve your communication skills then look for volunteer work that involves working with other people. If while you're there they ask for someone to write a newsletter volunteer for it so you can improve your written communication too. Just because you are giving up your time to help doesn't mean you shouldn't also be able to gain from the experience.

Sometimes the opportunity will arise to learn a new skill and if it does take it ~ the more skills you have the better, and skills look great on a CV.

Voluntary Work Looks Good on A CV

A good CV is worth it's weight in gold. To have a good CV you need a combination of 2 things:

Skills and Experience

A well written resume

It doesn't matter how good your skills are if your CV is written poorly, is scruffy or is full of errors, and it doesn't matter how well it's written if there is nothing of substance to go in it. I'm not going into CV writing here but if you have a CV that you want to improve on you can try these CV Writing Tips, and also try using a CV Layout Template.

Voluntary work looks good on a CV as it gives you an advantage over the competition in more ways than one. First it reflects a good attitude to work and shows a willingness to go over and above that which you have to do. It also stands out as something that the majority of people do not have on their CV, and that it very good as it makes your CV stand out. I worked in HR for many years and have seen more CVs than I care to remember ~ and when you're looking at a pile of CVs a foot tall it's the ones that contain something different, such as voluntary work, that stand out.

The Feel Good Factor of Being a Volunteer

 There is plenty of evidence to show that voluntary work is good for your health and well-being. Whether it's the fact of feeling useful, the social interaction or just being able to give something back, volunteering can improve self-esteem and self-worth.

All in all volunteering seems to be a win win situation. As a individual volunteer you stand to improve your skills, your CV and improve your chances of finding a great job. For organisations it provides them with a workforce they would otherwise be unable to afford.

So, if you are in the job market, or just looking for a new challenge, give volunteering serious thought. A quick search of the Internet or at a local library should bring up a wealth of local opportunities for you to consider or some points of contact for your get in touch with.

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