As a student or graduate, you know how important it is to have soft skills for the office. These skills include effective communication, organisational skills, the ability to function under pressure and more. Gaining these skills while studying can be difficult, but you can remedy this by looking into volunteering to help.
Now, volunteering might not sound like the way to build skills for a career but studies have shown that volunteering can help to improve both your soft skills and more career-specific skills too. Still not convinced? Read on below for some ways in which volunteering can help to develop your soft skills.
You will meet new people
If you choose the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) to donate your time to as a volunteer, you are sure to meet new people from all walks of life. This will help you to not only to deal with people from different communities but it will also teach you how to be comfortable speaking to people who are vastly different to you.
This will teach you some much-needed social skills that you might not have learnt in university. In the workplace, you will meet people from different cultural and social backgrounds, which can be difficult to deal with if you have only been exposed to a small number of people. Meeting new people will also give you a chance to network and you might even meet a future potential employer.
You will learn how to problem-solve
Being able to solve problems creatively is a skill that every employer looks for in their new hires. And what better way to learn how to problem solve than volunteering in an administrative position?
Volunteering and charitable organisations often have an influx of phone calls and emails that need to be answered and some of these might be less-than-pleasant. You will need to be able to think on your feet and create solutions to these problems. In today’s modern workplace, problem-solving is a highly valuable skill for young professionals, and if you have already been exposed to it by volunteering you will have a huge advantage.
You will develop good time-management skills
Being able to manage your time wisely is vital for joining the workforce. If you choose an organisation such as the MSF to donate your efforts to, you will be taught on-the-job how to effectively manage your time and complete tasks within a strict deadline.
Many people do not think that being a volunteer involves much organisation and time-management. But if you are late for your meetings and if you do not complete your given work by the deadline, the organisation can fall behind with fund-raising and other important aspects. In an office environment, you will need to be able to prioritise time-sensitive tasks, which you can learn by volunteering at a busy organisation.
You will learn to be a team player
As a volunteer, it is unlikely that you will be working alone. You will be part of a team of other volunteers and professionals working towards a singular goal. This is very similar to an office environment, where you will be working with colleagues in teams
Being a team player is vital to surviving in the workplace, and team-work is a soft skill that many employers look for in candidates. This is not only because getting along with your colleagues will make your working day easier, but it will allow teams to complete tasks on time and with the best results. Another benefit of this is that you will also learn how to interact with people who are different to who you usually interact with, teaching you tact and sensitivity.
You will become more aware of the world
University students and those who have recently graduated are often only aware of what is happening in the academic world. You might not be as up-to-date on the latest business and social media trends, which can be detrimental to finding work.
Volunteering can help you with that, as many volunteering organisations use the latest social media platforms to gain the attention of people and you will also be able to meet professionals who might be volunteering, and who can help keep you up to speed with trends. Being aware of what is happening in the world will open doors for you in terms of potential employers who appreciate employees who are interested in their industry.
Give a little and gain a lot
Volunteering does not only allow you to give back to a cause that is close to your heart. It can also help to develop your soft skills and build your career possibilities. You will learn how to problem-solve and how to interact with new people, as well as how to communicate effectively and clearly.
You will also gain time-management skills and become more of a team player. So, if you are looking for a unique way to up your skills before looking for work, try your hand at volunteering at a local charity or organisation.