You’re attending classes every day, perhaps playing a sport and making time to socialise with your friends. It can be quite difficult to find time to volunteer. But the benefits that come along with volunteering are enormous. The right volunteer work can help you find new friends, reach out to a community, learn new skills and even prosper in your career.
When you’re job hunting, the interviewer will likely ask for a specific example of when you have thought outside of the box. Or maybe an example of when you had worked with a team to overcome a challenge. These questions are common in an interview and, unless you have a polished answer for it, it can be difficult to answer them. Recruiters want to hear that you have fresh ideas and are a team player, but it means nothing without concrete proof.
So, what should you, as a soon-to-be graduate, do? Well, if you have no experience yet, volunteering is the way to go. Here are a few transferable skills you’ll learn during your time volunteering.
Spending time with people from different backgrounds is a great way to show recruiters you’re capable of being a team player and working closely with others. It’ll show you can build close working relationships with various people. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re interested in, chances are you’ll work in a team. The ability to work in a team is something everyone should develop.
It might seem simple and easy to work with other people, but working in a team brings its own challenges. So you’ll learn to overcome these challenges. Volunteering for an NGO like Doctors Without Borders is a great opportunity to show you can successfully work with people from different backgrounds.
What kind of leader are you? If you don’t know yet, during volunteer work you can find out. This can be a real confidence boost in the future when you’re job-hunting or trying to gain that promotion you want. There will be many opportunities and experiences on offer that will help you grow into a stronger, more confident leader. And recruiters usually look for evidence of leadership in young applicants. Besides, your generation are the leaders of tomorrow. So, whether you’re applying for a corporate or charity sector job, make sure you have examples of your leadership skills.
Whether you’re volunteering locally or internationally, it’s a great opportunity for you to grow as a person and learn how to take care of yourself. If you volunteer internationally, you’ll obviously be away from home for a few weeks. And being away from home for the first time can make you miss the luxury of your parents doing everything for you. But volunteering will teach you great self-management skills. You should make sure you’re ready for your daily tasks. And also show others you can make a difference by being on a volunteering project. The experience of looking after yourself and managing your time effectively is important as it’ll be beneficial in the future.
Problem-solving and adaptability
This is another common skill that will be tested during an interview. As a volunteer, you should think on your feet to solve problems. It doesn’t matter where you’ll spend your time, you should be able to come up with solutions to problems. With this you should also be able to adjust to the different conditions. Being able to adapt easily is a big advantage when starting out in the working world.
Everyone knows how important these skills are. This is one of the major skills needed in the workplace. So it might be better to learn it now rather than later when starting out in the working world. And as a volunteer, your communication skills will be in high demand. Whether you’re teaching or helping out in the medical field, you need to communicate effectively with your team to ensure you carry out your role effectively. If you volunteer abroad where English isn’t widely spoken, your communication skills will be further tested.
Apply the skills you already have
Volunteering is the perfect opportunity to find out what your true strengths and skills are. If someone asks you what your key skills are, the odds are you won’t have an answer. This is where volunteering comes in. You’ll get the opportunity to explore your skillset in a real work environment. And when you’re in an interview, you’ll know exactly what your specific skills are.
There are many things you’ll learn as a volunteer. Remember to have fun and enjoy your time giving back to an underprivileged community. Volunteering isn’t only a life-enhancing experience but also a stepping stone to securing yourself a career.