Volunteer and boost your future
Volunteering can be an excellent choice if you’re stuck in a career rut, or you’re looking for your next opportunity. It can help you boost your confidence, develop new skills and experience. It could also help you explore career paths you haven’t previously considered.
Many people use volunteering as a way to offer expertise to organisations that desperately need it. Help a cause you believe in, build your social network and give back to your community.
“Volunteering changed my life,” Peter E, 48, Shropshire.
Peter was unemployed for more than a year when he decided to start volunteering.
“The longer I was out of work, the harder it became to secure an interview, even for jobs I didn’t want,” says Peter. “It was a never-ending, downward circle.”
When Peter approached a local community shop for a volunteering role, they were grateful for the help and took him on straight away.
Peter volunteered for six months and did such a fantastic job that when a permanent role became available, he was offered the position of store manager. Peter now looks after his own team of staff and volunteers.
Building confidence and transferable skills
Volunteering is an excellent way to build confidence if you’ve been away from the job market for a while, or if you’re looking for a career change.
It provides an opportunity to gain new transferable skills or brush up on your existing ones. This includes people management, communication and listening, decision making, problem-solving, compassion and empathy. Adding them to your CV, along with any specialist training you’re given, will help to strengthen your prospects – even if you have limited experience.
Connect to your local community
As well as boosting your CV, volunteering is a great way to connect to the wider world and feel part of your community. You’ll expand your social network and meet like-minded individuals from a variety of backgrounds who share the same passion about issues that matter to you.
Volunteering can also make you feel happier and healthier. Research by Volunteering England has shown that volunteers can experience a range of benefits, including increased life satisfaction and better mental health*.
Finding the right opportunity
Anyone can be a volunteer and there are many roles where you won’t need experience. Charities and local groups often need a helping hand; anything from event organising to data management to gardening.
- Start by identifying a cause or project that inspires you
- Identify the type of role you want to do – for example, do you want to make sure they’re using your computer skills or are you happy just to help out with whatever’s needed?
- Then contact a local organisation or community group to see if they need volunteers. You can search the Do It Trust or your local Volunteer Centre listings to find roles, including volunteering opportunities you can do from home if that suits you best.
It can take time to find the right role. Bear in mind that organisations often ask for a commitment of a number of hours a week, or a commitment for a number of months. If you’re looking for a role working with young people (for example in youth or sports club) you will also be asked for relevant background checks.
Why not challenge yourself this week to search for a volunteering opportunity that suits your career ambitions? Whether you feel you can give just one hour a month or several hours a week, there's a charity or community group out there waiting for someone just like you.
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