How Volunteering Helps Boost Your Prospects
We all know, with a chaotic work, education and social schedule, it is difficult to find the time to volunteer. However, although working for free may seem like a waste of time, the benefits of volunteering are enormous, so what better way to use your long student holidays or post-grad time than by volunteering?
In recent years, charities across the globe have been encouraging graduates to join their volunteering programmes to help make a difference in the world. Here’s how a volunteering experience can help boost your prospects and benefit your future, as well as the future of others who may be less fortunate than you are.
Volunteers are an integral and essential 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 boosting graduates’ prospects, especially once they head out into the working world.
A stint of volunteering offers numerous benefits for your future career, as well as your personal development. Britain’s 15.2 million monthly volunteers donate their time for a multitude of reasons including the desire to bring about change, learn new skills, give back to their own community as well as helping communities that are less fortunate.
Meeting new people & social interaction
Volunteering provides graduates with a great opportunity to meet new people with similar or totally different interests, both allowing you to feel part of a diverse community. Studies suggest that 74% of graduates experienced a wider range of friendships through volunteering, and that’s a useful social skill to develop, particularly when you’re thrown into the working world.
In recent years, employers have begun to expect more from graduates than just a degree, so graduating with a wide set of skills and experiences really works in your favour. Socially-conscious students with the motivation to give up their free time to help others, are ranked highly by employers, increasing your chances of getting a job.
Volunteering overseas vs volunteering at home
When it comes down to volunteering, there are countless opportunities that enable you to work at home or overseas. Many graduates are drawn to the new culture of volunteering overseas in order to gain a better insight of the world and its diversities. Ghana, India, Cambodia and Tanzania are all particularly popular places when it comes to experiencing new cultures and each destination is keen to recruit volunteers. Here students are likely to be helping to teach children, support hospitals or animal conservation. Volunteering abroad is often over a sustained period of time which is perfect for the post-grad summer months. In many cases, the volunteering programme goes so well that the graduate doesn’t want to return home!
A significant amount of graduates have left home on a more permanent basis after being inspired by helping organisations around the world, and in this case, you would need to apply for a Visa that is specific to the country. But if this sounds complicated, contact an immigration solicitor or the country’s government visa team for more help. For example, if you are volunteering in the UK and want to stay, find out here if you can apply to settle in this country.
No one type of volunteering experience is essentially better than another; it largely depends on your overall goals, interests, capabilities and the needs the communities you wish to serve. Your experience and service could be a life-changing dose of reality that will boost your prospects as well as alter your outlook on life (for the best).
Things to keep in mind
When it comes to choosing the right volunteering experience, it is important to follow your personal passions and interests as well as daring to step out of your comfort zone and embrace new (possibly daunting) things. Look for a volunteering experience that will challenge you and force you to try new things and grow into your best self – regardless if it’s halfway across the world or just across the road.
If you would like to volunteer:
Opportunities, support and blogs about volunteering abroad
UK’s international organisation for cultural relations & educational opportunities
Programmes for volunteering abroad, as well as paid work or study
From short expeditions to gap year volunteer programmes
Find out more:
Grad Bites: Volunteer Fundraising
Environmental Volunteering: Bournemouth Beach Clean Club
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