There are any number of volunteering opportunities available and giving up some of your own time to help others is a sure fire way to impress and stand out in front of potential employers. With competition fierce, for not just job roles, but also work experience and internship positions, volunteering can be a way to fill your CV with some out-of-education experience.

If you think about what it is you want to do before applying for various positions, volunteering can be an important way of gaining the skills that are needed to further pursue your chosen career, as well as to begin forming a network of possible contacts.

Volunteer work is universal in the sense that every industry will value it. Regardless of whether you have been actively affiliated with an organisation or have just dedicated a few hours to a local animal shelter every month, it can give you an edge over other applicants for a position.

Market your soft skills

Standing out is not the only benefit from volunteering experience – as you can gain and improve your soft skills as a result. Employers are becoming more determined to ensure each member of staff is equipped with the correct amount of communication, teamwork and leadership experience to cope with the demands of the modern office.

Soft skills are difficult to market to a potential employer if you are reliant on your educational career to highlight your suitability for the position and company. However, those that volunteer can easily convey their enthusiasm via a natural narrative and point to evidence of when their exceptional communicational skills were required for example.

Having a range of skills and attributes that are transferable, no matter what role or position you are occupying, instantly makes you a lot more desirable to employers.

Increase your experience and insight

Amassing as much experience as possible should be one of your main objectives, and volunteering gives you the chance to get involved with new things to develop technical, social and academic skills that are difficult to learn while in the classroom.

Instead of looking at the amount of volunteering you have done, it is important to focus on the variety of experience it has brought you. Try your hand at a variety of things, find out what suits you and see what is it you need to learn and also improve on.

If there are limited opportunities, you could show your initiative and try creating one for yourself. From setting up and organising a fundraiser to a dance with the cost of the tickets going towards a charity, the possibilities are endless. Whether everything runs smoothly or not, having experience in a management position, showcasing your teamwork and your leadership abilities are all things you can highlight in applications, CV’s and interviews.

Sample different career paths

If you are unsure about what career path you want to go down, then volunteering can give you a chance to test out whether or not it is right for you. Getting involved with an organisation that has similar ideals and interests is a step in the right direction to understanding what life will be like as part of the workforce in the industry.

By creating a network of new connections and gaining a variety of experience, it allows you to have a more accurate answer to the question: ‘Could you see yourself doing this for the rest of your life?’ Even if it turns out the organisation you have volunteered with has nothing to do with your intended career path, you might be surprised by how much you can still pick up.

Being able to deal with difficult experiences and showing a professional attitude while not in your ideal environment is an integral part of developing into a desirable employee.