Volunteering: your passport to new employment?
70,000 people have offered up their services to volunteer in the London 2012 Olympics. Are you one of those willing to give up your time to help out where’s needed? If not, then it might be worth a re-think. Not only does volunteering benefit others; it also equips you with valuable skills which, in turn, may serve to increase your employability.
Did you know that each year around 22 million adults donate c90 million hours to volunteering a week? It has been estimated that the activity is worth £40 billion per year, which is no mean feat. So, why is volunteering so popular?
Getting involved with something – not to make profit, but to help and to learn – can be an extremely rewarding exercise. In some cases, such as the Olympics, it presents the opportunity to gain access to something which may not be available to you otherwise.
There is also the sense of being ‘part’ of something. The Olympics, for example, is one of the biggest events to take place globally. Without volunteers, however, it couldn’t be done. It is a prime example where people’s selfless contributions, of both time and effort, makes something happen which wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
According to statistics, the skills you can gain are:
1. Communication (72%)
2. Leadership (69%)
3. Teamwork (59%)
4. Fundraising (47%)
5. Problem solving and public speaking (tie at 44%)
Volunteering enables you to strengthen your skill set, which you can then transfer to the work place. You will also be adding activities to your CV, which employers find attractive and desirable in potential employees.
“Year-on-year, the [jobs] market becomes more competitive. So for candidates to have done different projects and volunteering, and to have mixed with people out of their comfort zone, makes them more employable” Neil Fox.
A survey carried out by TimeBank through Reed Executive showed that among 200 of the UK’s leading businesses –
• 73% of employers would recruit a candidate with volunteering experience over one without
• 94% of employers believe that volunteering can add to skills
• 94% of employees who volunteered to learn new skills had benefitted either by getting their first job, improving their salary, or being promoted.
Volunteering provides a fantastic opportunity to network. Use it as a means of marketing yourself to your local community and potential employers. You just never know who you might meet, but can guarantee that there will be an eclectic mix.
Mingling with a variety of people from different backgrounds will gain you valuable contacts from industry sectors. If you are out of work and choosing to volunteer; demonstrating that you have aptitude and other key skills could land you a job. Equally, if you’re in work you could make new useful contacts, which could help you progress, or even find a better job.
Volunteering and employability are inextricably linked, so have you taken it seriously into account? If not, visit Volunteering England for more information and ways you can get involved. You may have missed the Olympics; however, there are many other opportunities out there, where people would benefit from your help.