1) Work experience – volunteering can help you get the all-important work experience that you need for your chosen field. If you have never had a job it will give you a head start and show that you are an employable and not a slacker.
2) References – it is always important to have references when you apply for jobs and voluntary work is a great way to get them. A good reference from an employer will give you a head start wherever you apply.
3) Contacts – working as a volunteer can give you valuable contacts in your chosen employment sector. You might get to hear of jobs and other opportunities through meeting people in the same field.
4) Possibility of employment – I have lost count of the number of friends who have been offered permanent work within the organisations where they volunteer. If you are an asset, a hard worker and the organisation has the money they will want to hang on to you. Working within a charitable organisation is a great way to hear first when voluntary sector jobs are coming up.
5) Training and learning transferable skills – most organisations that take volunteers on will usually offer some kind of free volunteer training. Training can range from half day training on the tills at your local charity to intensive six week courses in welfare rights and safeguarding clients. Longer training programmes usually require the volunteer to make some kind of long term time commitment to the charity; however these courses are usually free and provide you with valuable new skills that look great on your CV when you are applying for jobs.
6) Helping the community – volunteering really is a great way to give back to your local community. We don’t all have spare cash to help charities so what better way to help then than by donating some of your time, energy and ideas?
7) Rewarding – the rewards may not be financial – but there is a huge amount of satisfaction to be gained from working with charities and knowing that you are making a positive difference to your local community and people’s lives. Whether you are working in a school, a hospital, a community group, a charity shop, a local radio station or some other project the feeling of contributing to something worthwhile can be amazing.
8) Meeting people and making friends – lonely? Don’t have many friends or want to broaden your social network? Voluntary work is a great way to combat loneliness and meet people from all walks of life. There can be a great feeling of camaraderie within the organisation and it is a great way to make new friends.
9) Keeping busy and getting out of the house – whether you are retired, unemployed, on holiday from university or recovering from illness or injury, working in the voluntary sector is a brilliant way to get yourself out of the house and fill your time.
10) Stay positive and active and combat depression − people who take early retirement or become suddenly unemployed often feel worthless and depressed. Working as a volunteer can increase your sense of worth, help you to stay active both physically and mentally, maintain a positive mental attitude and give you a reason to get out of bed each day.
- License: Creative Commons image source
This is a guest post. Julia Webb is a freelance writer working for http://volunteering.thirdsector.co.uk/ – she has extensive experience of working in the voluntary sector.
Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net