How volunteering experience will help to boost a student's prospects

05 June 2019 | Focus | Guest Author

With a busy work and education schedule, it can often be hard to find the time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering are enormous, so what better way to use your time than by volunteering? From a few hours a month to a gap year trip, there are plenty of options to fit in helping others. With the summer holidays approaching, it’s a great time to start looking for volunteering roles that could help later when applying for university of careers.

In recent years, charities across the globe have been encouraging young people to join their volunteering programmes to help make a difference in the world. Here’s how a volunteering experience can help boost your prospects, benefiting your future as well as the future of others.

Why Volunteer?

Volunteers are an integral part of any charitable organisation and without them, there would be no charity. Not only can volunteering benefit a wealth of causes, but it also contributes considerably to the boosting of students prospects once they head out into the working world and can form the basis of a personal statement when applying to universities.

Britain’s 15.2 million monthly volunteers donate their time for a multitude of reasons including the desire to bring about change, give back to their community as well as helping communities that are less fortunate and learn new skills. For students, a stint of volunteering offers numerous benefits for your future career and your personal development.

Meeting New People

Volunteering provides students with a great opportunity to meet new people with similar or totally different interests, both allowing you to feel part of a community. Studies suggest that 74% of university students experienced a wider range of friendships through volunteering which is a fundamental social skill to have, particularly within the working world or at university where you will meet lots of people and have to quickly build relationships.

As well as helping to boost the self-confidence of individuals by taking them out of their comfort zones and dealing with real-world problems, it will offer new life experiences and insights into social developmental issues.

Aside from social developments, volunteering is a great way to network and meet other like-minded individuals, creating a friendship that can last a lifetime.

Boost Career Opportunities

Problem-solving, teamwork and strong communication skills are just some of the abilities employers look for in graduates. In an increasingly competitive world, taking the time to volunteer will ensure that your CV is brimming with valuable experience and qualities that will help you stand out from the crowd.

As a school leaver you may be struggling to find experience to include on your CV so volunteering is a great option. Depending on what you decide to do, you can showcase your organizational, teamwork, or motivation. It is also a chance to show your passion for a particular cause. If you can link your experience volunteering to the skills they are searching for, employers are bound to be impressed!

Employers expect graduates to gain more from university than just as degree so graduating with a diverse set of skills and experiences really works in your favour. Socially conscious students with the motivation to give up their free time in helping others are ranked highly by employers increasing your chances of getting a job. If you are off to university next year, be on the look out for charitable societies you can join. Not only are they a great place to make new friends, they will also be able to help you gaining voluntary experience in the local area or abroad.

Volunteering Overseas vs Volunteering at Home

When it comes to volunteering, there are countless opportunities that enable you to work at home or overseas. Many students are drawn to the new culture of volunteering overseas in order to gain a better understanding of the world and its diversity of people in it.

Popular places with a diversity of cultures that are keen to recruit volunteers are the likes of Cambodia, Ghana, India, Kenya and Tanzania. In these places, volunteers are likely to be helping to teach children, support hospitals, build schools or animal conservation.

Volunteering abroad is often over a period of a month or two, which requires you to have a significant amount of free time available; perfect for the summer before university.

You don’t even need to be 18 to volunteer abroad, although you will need your parent’s permission. Many companies organise overseas volunteering for teens where volunteers can have their first taste of being away from home with the safety of booking through a trusted organisation.

It's important to remember that no type of volunteering experience is better than the other. It largely depends on your goals, interests, capabilities and the needs of communities you want to serve. Your experience and service could be a life-changing dose of reality for you that will help to boost your prospects.

Things to keep in mind

When it comes to choosing the right volunteering experience its important to follow your passions and interests as well as stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing new (maybe daunting) things. Look for a volunteering experience that will challenge you and force you to grow into your best self- regardless if its halfway across the world or just across the road.

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