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How volunteering can help you find a job

By Jana Angeles

Volunteering is a wonderful way for you to make a difference. While the work itself has no remuneration involved, it is still a great opportunity that can help you expand your current skill set, network with other people and makes an effective use of time that will not only benefit you but the community as well

Volunteer work is not simplified down to just tree planting, fundraising or helping out in the local shelter - it can also be roles where specific skills are required. 

For example, you could volunteer your time as an Non Executive Director or be part of a Company’s secretary undertaking administration duties. While volunteer work means that you have to make time outside of your job and other commitments, it’s still a great opportunity for you to make an impact on a specific cause or organisation. 

It can even improve your employment prospects, as hiring managers tend to enthuse on the idea on a candidate with volunteer experience. Not only does volunteer work allow you to contribute to the community and its individuals, but it can also enhance your employability and make your CV stand out to prospective employers.

Where can I find volunteer work?

  1. Using some reputable job websites.
  2. Specific volunteer abroad programs.

1. Using some reputable job websites.

bearded man talking on phone

Reputable job sites such as Seek or Ethical jobs have plenty of volunteer roles you can do. Most roles require you to do it for an ongoing basis until you resign from the position, or for a specific event or project. Non-profit organisations need a pool of volunteers as that is where they get their start. 

With limited funding, they are unable to pay everyone who works directly so having volunteers do work from events to administration can be a great contributor when it comes to the expansion of a non-profit organisation.

Volunteer roles are also advertised on charities via their websites, with some having their own specific internal recruitment process that is beyond submitting a simple CV or cover letter

2. Specific volunteer abroad programs.

young woman teaching indian woman how to read in english

If you want to dedicate some weeks or months to volunteer work but prefer somewhere overseas, International Volunteer HQ has a wide range of volunteer abroad programs where you can travel to specific countries in Asia, Europe and the Americas. 

If you can afford the expenses that come with the volunteer abroad programs, it’s a great alternative for a working holiday, gap year or opportunity to travel.

Volunteer work has many benefits when you are after career growth or simply want to put yourself outside of your comfort zone. If you’re not convinced how volunteer work can help enhance your job prospects, here are some benefits that come with volunteering and the impact it has on both yourself and the community:

Ways volunteering can boost your career 

  1. It allows you to develop new skills.
  2. You have the opportunity to network with other people. 
  3. It counts as professional experience.
  4. It will boost your confidence.

1. It allows you to develop new skills.

young ethnic woman holding clipboard and smiling

If you have a skills gap or want to learn the ins and outs of a particular role, taking up a volunteer role can be a great opportunity for you to explore your career horizons without the pressure of paid work and passing its probation period

Not only does volunteer work allow you to ease into a role, it actually helps you expand on your current skill set. You may struggle with your communication skills in your current position and want to find an opportunity that can help you improve in the area. 

In addition, volunteer work can help you get your training wheels for the position you’ve been assigned to and enables you to soak up the experience. You also have a fresh sense of enthusiasm since it is a change from your usual routine as well.

Most Upskilled community services and education require work placement to be done for specific Certificate and Diploma-level courses. Attaining these qualifications is great for those who prefer a hands-on approach when it comes to their career and is suited for individuals who love working with different kinds of people

In addition, if you want to study Upskilled’s BSB42415 - Certificate IV in Marketing and Communication or BSB50215 - Diploma of Business, getting some volunteer experience in these industries can be similar and counted as professional experience, similar to what an internship can offer.

2. You have the opportunity to network with other people. 

volunteers working together

If you’re in a job position where networking rarely ever occurs outside of work, the great benefit of doing a volunteer role is that you get to meet new people. This will help expand your professional network and perhaps gain some awesome friendships along the way. 

Volunteer roles also allow you to connect with some seasoned professionals you can learn from. Not only will it benefit you as a professional, but you’ll have the opportunity to be mentored and have someone you can actively seek advice from when needed.

Volunteering also has many opportunities where you may be required to travel interstate or overseas for events and this can open up doors in your career if you get in touch with the right people. 

The simple gesture of exchanging contacts can boost your confidence in simply striking up a conversation with people. Upskilled has a short course in networking that can help you improve on your skills in connecting with other people. 

Full-time freelancers can also benefit from volunteering as their work schedule is more flexible, so the benefit of networking with other people in a volunteer position can help them seek out some potential clients at the same time and be available to work on some exciting freelance projects.

3. It counts as professional experience.

young indian woman smiling in front of laptop

Despite not getting paid for volunteer work, it still counts as professional experience. You may have been eyeing a specific job role, but don’t necessarily have the skills and experience to do the job. 

Volunteering your time in a similar position can put you in a good place because it allows you to gain relevant experience for your desired role

It also highlights your enthusiasm for taking the time to actively work and gain the skills required to succeed in a job position. If you feel stuck and not sure what you should do after you complete a course, volunteering is the perfect opportunity to get a good feel of a role and it will also help build you credentials early on.

4. It will boost your confidence.

confident woman with arms up

Confidence is key when it comes to looking for a job, and what better way to do it than to volunteer for one! Not only does volunteering help you make a difference in the community, you will feel good about dedicating your time to actively help people. It also gives you a sense of meaning and purpose on why you’re doing it. 

According to Seek, 92% of employers said candidates relevant for a specific job were favourably looked upon if they had volunteer experience on their CV. So, if you have a job interview lined up or you’re simply on the hunt for your next role, merely having some volunteer experience could make a great discussion point. 

You can also touch on the valuable soft skills you gained from the volunteer role, which can be highly advantageous when it comes to your competition.

Want a job that is rewarding?

If you’ve had your fair share of volunteer roles and want work in industries where you can make a difference, check out Upskilled’s extensive range of community services courses. 

You will also have the opportunity to get some hands-on experience through work placement, giving you a head start needed when it comes to your career. Not only that, you get to work with different people and create a positive impact in their lives on an ongoing basis. 

 Be sure to start your course search and contact one of Upskilled’s Education Consultants today. 
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