Doing voluntary work while you are also studying can bring many benefits, personal and social as well helping your career aspirations, so instead of spending a few extra hours in bed or catching up on Netflix, why not think about spending some time working as a volunteer?
There are so many different types of volunteering opportunities available that you are bound to find something that appeals to you.
Here are our top 6 reasons why you should think about volunteering while you are a student
1. Get some experience
Volunteering for a charity in the area you would like to work in, or at least try it out to see if you would like to work in that field, can be a great way to get your foot in the door and build up some experience. Just because you are not being paid, doesn’t make the experience any less valid and you can pick and choose what you would like to do. Fundraising on the streets or over the phone can be a great grounding for a sales job, visiting the elderly or working in a play group could give you experience in a care setting, volunteering in a hospital can be valuable experience for trainee medical practitioners or therapists.
2. It’s a great way to try things out
If you don’t know what you want to do yet when you graduate, volunteering with different types of organisations is a great way to test things out and see if you like them. Try a few different roles in different types of organisations and even in different countries. It will give you a clearer idea, if not about what you want to do, then maybe about what you don’t want to do!
3. Boost your CV
Whether you volunteer in a field you want to work in or not, the experience will inevitably teach you new soft skills which you can put on your CV. Working in a team, meeting people from all walks of life, working with confidentiality are just some examples. Regardless of what you are doing, the fact that you are giving up your time to help others, speaks volumes about you.
4. Sense of reward
Volunteering can be very rewarding personally. Even though you are helping others, the sense of reward it gives you, can be very satisfying and uplifting. Working with people who are disadvantaged or suffering and knowing that you are able to help can sometimes put your own problems in to perspective too.
5. Social benefits
Wherever you choose to volunteer, it will be because you have an empathy with the cause that you are helping, which means that you will most likely have that in common with the other people working there. You are all working for a common purpose and this can create a very strong bond between you.
6. It could lead to work
Quite often, volunteering can lead to a paid role, particularly if you are volunteering an a sector related to your degree. When you graduate, the organisation you have worked for as a volunteer, could offer you a job.
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Where to look for volunteering opportunities
Most student unions will have a volunteer coordinator who will receive requests for volunteers from the local community. You will find a wide array of opportunities from working in local schools to visiting the elderly or working in charity offices. There will always be a volunteering stand at the Freshers fair, or during the year you can ask in the Students’ Union.
The website www.do-it.org.uk also has many opportunities online across the country.