Why Voluntary Work Is Valuable For Any Job Application 

Apr 12, 2024

With fierce competition for graduates applying for jobs, having something extra special on your CV can help you stand out from the crowd. If you have time to spare, voluntary work can be beneficial for your job application and to you personally. 

For busy graduates searching for a new role or struggling to secure one, volunteering gives you valuable skills, boosts confidence and provides first-hand working experience. But, if you’re working flat out, or completing your studies and in part-time employment, you might be short of time. To mark International Microvolunteering Day on the 15th of April, let’s explore how ‘microvolunteering’ for a few hours can be a great way to support a cause you care about and enhance your job applications.

What Is Microvolunteering?

‘Microvolunteering’ is committing to a work task for only a short amount of time, typically for a couple of hours a day or week. It might involve activities such as online research, writing, translation, data entry or even social media support for charitable organisations or community initiatives. The key aspect of microvolunteering is its flexibility, allowing you to learn new tasks on-the-job and contribute your skills and time in bite-sized voluntary chunks that fit around your other commitments.

Add Value To Your Application

International Microvolunteering Day is a good time to reflect on the value of voluntary work for any job application and your career. Although you might prefer paid work (who doesn’t), giving up a little time in a voluntary role is always worthwhile. This is true whether or not you’re volunteering in a position or organisation that is relevant to the career you’re interested in. 

When it comes to your job application, 82% of hiring managers are more likely to choose a candidate with volunteer experience. The added value of unpaid work is immeasurable as employers see you as someone who is dedicated, productive, willing to work hard and happy to take on new challenges. You might incorporate existing hobbies within new settings, such as volunteering to share vegan cake decorating skills with a community group or spending a little time each month working on supportive or promotional causes with a well-known charity.

Key Benefits Of Microvolunteering

Becoming a volunteer for any amount of time is a positive step whatever career path you have in your sights. Being accepted for a role might even carve out an opportunity in a company or environment you’re aiming to work in. The benefits of microvolunteering as a graduate looking for employment are significant and include: 

  • Boosting Your CV – Employers value candidates who demonstrate a well-rounded skill set, a commitment to personal growth, and a sense of social responsibility. By engaging in microvolunteering activities, you can add valuable experiences to your CV, showcasing your ability to manage time effectively, work collaboratively, and contribute to meaningful causes.
  • Broadening Practical Skills – Microvolunteering offers opportunities to develop and refine a wide range of practical skills that are highly sought after in the job market. From communication and problem-solving to project management and digital literacy, the tasks you undertake can help you build a versatile and attractive skill set.
  • Building Contacts and Networking Opportunities – Stepping out in a voluntary capacity can open doors to networking opportunities and valuable professional connections. By working alongside professionals in a field of interest, you may have the chance to learn from their expertise, seek mentorship, and potentially uncover future job prospects or collaborations.

Volunteering, even in small doses, can also have a positive impact on your mental health and personal development. It can foster a sense of purpose, boost self-confidence and be rewarding. Moreover, the experiences that can be gained through volunteering present unique opportunities for personal growth and self-discovery, expanding your view of the world and allowing you to obtain invaluable insights from diverse perspectives and viewpoints. 

Align Experience With Your Career

Microvolunteering can be great for your career and your job applications, so you may prefer to align your volunteer experience to the sector you’re interested in. Voluntary work proves to potential employers that you are serious about your career objectives. Therefore, identify opportunities that align with your personal goals, interests and skill development areas. You can broaden your experience and meet useful contacts and more importantly, gain first-hand experience of a sector or role you have been considering. 

Volunteering can help you choose a career that is right for you, as well as cement your passion for a particular sector. For example, if you want to get into medicine or apply for positions that can give you the experience you are after. By volunteering with organisations or initiatives related to your desired career path, you can gain invaluable firsthand experience and insights into that sector. The opportunity can help you better understand the challenges, trends and dynamics of the industry, potentially giving you a competitive edge in the job market.

Every microvolunteering experience is a unique opportunity to reflect and learn from the challenges you faced or the people you met. Maintain a record to keep track of the activities you engage in, the tasks you perform and consider how any skills can strengthen your application or some scenarios that might be good to discuss during interviews. Self-reflection can help you identify areas for further growth if you want a change of career, ultimately making you a stronger candidate in the job market. Therefore, ask for feedback and references during your voluntary stint. Any positive comments about your skills and work ethic will further enhance your job applications.

Foster A Sense of Community

Volunteering isn’t just about personal gain; it’s about contributing positively to your community. Engaging in microvolunteering activities allows you to connect with like-minded individuals and organisations, fostering a sense of community and social responsibility. This can be particularly valuable for graduates seeking to build networks and experience various industries or sectors of interest. By establishing connections with local individuals, businesses, and charitable organisations, you cultivate a sense of belonging and purpose, inspiring you to give back and make a difference. 

Building ties within your community promotes well-being and, over time, you’ll forge deeper connections with your neighbours and other influential figures in your locality. Interacting with individuals from various backgrounds broadens your understanding of the world and challenges your preconceived notions. This invaluable experience fosters empathy, patience, and self-reflection, enabling you to recognize and address your strengths and weaknesses. 

Summary

Voluntary work, even in small doses, can be a powerful asset. Whether you derive satisfaction from creative endeavours, technical tasks, decision-making processes, or community outreach efforts, there’s boundless potential to give back and derive enjoyment from the experience. By microvolunteering, you not only contribute to meaningful causes but also equip yourself with valuable skills, experiences, and insights that can set you apart in the competitive job market. 

So, take advantage of International Microvolunteering Day on the 15th of April and start exploring the many opportunities that await you.

Featured image by RDNE Stock project from Pexels

Online course

Turn Your Degree Into A Career

Download your FREE copy of our Key Employability Skills guide to help you determine what kind of skills you possess.

  • Learn the 9 imperative skills you should be including on your CV to beat ATS!
  • Gain a deeper understanding about the skills you should be discussing during interviews.
  • Submit your email and receive immedidate access!

    Our latest posts

    How to Address “Failure to Launch” Syndrome in Graduates
    May 21, 2024

    How to Address “Failure to Launch” Syndrome in Graduates

    The transition from university to a fulfilling graduate-level career is a significant milestone in a young adult's life. Securing a good job after...

    Read post
    Understanding the Sharp Decline in Graduate Job Opportunities in the UK
    May 17, 2024

    Understanding the Sharp Decline in Graduate Job Opportunities in the UK

    In recent months, the UK's graduate job market has experienced a significant downturn, outpacing the slowdown in the broader labour market....

    Read post
    What Makes the UAE a Unique Place for English Teachers?
    May 17, 2024

    What Makes the UAE a Unique Place for English Teachers?

    If you are familiar with the TEFL industry at all, you will know that teaching English abroad is an enriching and fulfilling career that benefits...

    Read post
    See All Blog Posts