Maybe you’re a freelancer who has hit a bit of a dry spell. Maybe you’re a successful business owner who can now afford to take some time out from the daily grind. Maybe you’re heading towards retirement and searching for a constructive way to fill the time between well-earned cruises and long weekends away. Volunteer work could be an extremely beneficial stepping stone for you and we’re here to tell you why.
Money matters, that’s for sure but it shouldn’t always necessarily be your main objective. Sometimes the skills, contacts and leads afforded to you by undergoing a period of temporary volunteer work can be far more valuable to you than financial gain. We aren’t suggesting that you pack in a secure job that you have worked hard at for a number of years to go in search of your professional destiny by surrendering yourself to the local charity shop three times a week. No, not for one minute. If you’re happy in your role and satisfied with the path you’re on then by all means, sit tight but if you’re looking for a career change or even just a productive way to spend some spare time then why not consider volunteering?
Move away from the stereotypes of tea making and window cleaning and think more along the lines of focused, relevant, volunteer work for a company that can really help you develop. Whether you’re looking to expand your own skillset or selflessly support a business in need of a helping hand, here’s our top five reasons why you shouldn’t knock it before you’ve tried it!
CV building – As we all know, our curriculum vitae is an ongoing profile of what we can do and have done and whether you’re freelance, in-house or self-employed, it’s important to continuously build this portfolio. The absence of clients or an abundance of spare time gives you the perfect opportunity to expand your experience and develop existing skills. It’s also a great way to test run brand new skills if you are in the process of a complete career transformation without being tied to any long-term employee contracts.
Contact making – Volunteering in your chosen field means you are opening the door to a whole new world of contacts and opportunities that you may have missed otherwise. It also allows you to be sure that you’re connecting with the right people and gaining access to the right resources that can help you get ahead. Volunteer work is also a great source of networking, which enables you to really hone in on your interpersonal and communication skills to stand you in good stead for future interviews and client meetings.
Employability – It’s common knowledge that the skills gap is still a prominent problem throughout the UK at the moment but extra-curricular work towards learning and adopting new skills can help you stand out from the crowd. As well as developing your skillset, undergoing volunteer work demonstrates willingness, initiative, motivation and a drive to succeed. These are all extremely attractive qualities to prospective employees who will be sifting through hundreds and thousands of potential employees including you.
Confidence boosting – CV building, contact making and employability are less important to the well-versed retiree who is simply looking to spend their time constructively. However, confidence boosting is vital to almost everybody as great self-esteem contributes to a healthy mind and positive productivity. A survey done by Reach Skills showed that more than one in three volunteers do it to increase their confidence levels and we salute them! Satisfaction, pride, sense of purpose and confidence in your own capabilities are all key ingredients to a happy well-rounded person.
Good karma – As well as ticking lots of boxes for those of you still working your way up the career ladder, volunteer work will also allow you to rack up some serious good karma points. If nothing else, altruistic acts of kindness make you feel all fuzzy inside and will give growing businesses the helping hand they need to succeed and we all know that feels, right?
Taking a hiatus from money-making can be nerve-racking in this material world so it’s important you get the most out of your volunteer experience. Be proactive in getting involved and go above and beyond what’s expected of you. Remember, it’s only temporary and one day these skills could be earning you a pretty penny. If you feel like you aren’t getting enough out of the experience then speak up because volunteer work has to be a mutually beneficial process. Lastly – ask questions. Be inquisitive to absorb the absolute most out of the situation and the people in it. Wring it dry!