So, you’ve found the perfect job. The office is within an easy commute, it’s offering flexible working hours and the job spec feels as though it was ripped directly from your life experience. Surely, you’re a shoo-in for the role; the business would be lucky to have you.
But what are the chances that your CV is actually going to be the one picked off the pile when there are dozens, if not hundreds, of other applicants with similar experience? There’s only so much you can portray on a one or two-page document. The trick is knowing how to showcase your passions and your interests in a way that really makes you stand out from the crowd.
The best way to achieve that? Add in your volunteering. Have you run a marathon for charity? Include it. Did you help out at a fundraising event at your university? Put it on there. The more causes you were involved in, the more passionate you come across as a candidate, and recruiters love that.
Let’s take a closer look at how volunteer experience can boost your career prospects.
Building valuable skills for your career
It takes more than a great mindset to build a successful career. Volunteering allows you to build a valuable social network, connect with your community and develop a deeper respect for diversity and inclusivity. And all of those skills translate to must-have qualities for the workplace. Hiring managers want to know that you can work as part of a team and be on the frontline when necessary, driving their organisation forward rather than holding it back.
Looking to work in a customer-facing role? Volunteering helps you develop those oh-so-valuable people skills. Or maybe you’re after something a bit more strategic? You’ll definitely have a chance to fine-tune your problem-solving skills.
According to the professional service network Deloitte, 92% of hiring managers agreed that volunteering can help employees develop stronger professional and leadership skills, putting them in a more favourable position for managerial roles. Even if you’re only applying for an entry-level position, it gives recruiters an idea of how you might progress in their organisation.
What volunteering tells recruiters about you
Did you know that 82% of hiring managers are more likely to choose a candidate who has volunteering experience? And 85% of those hiring managers will actually overlook other flaws on your CV when they’ve seen you volunteered.
More than anything else, volunteering shows that you’re passionate about something. Not everyone wants to spend their free time helping at a homeless shelter or working with disadvantaged youths. But when you do, it highlights the fact that you’re willing to work hard and dedicate yourself to something that’s important to you. And with more and more companies focusing on social responsibility and impact, it’s refreshing to find candidates with a clear sense of purpose.
If you decide to pursue a career in the non-profit sector, this is especially important. Passion is a valuable skill, and the more connection you have with a charity’s mission, the more attractive you become as a candidate.
For all you know, your passions and interests may align perfectly with the company culture at the organisation you’re applying for. Having similar interests to the rest of the team could give you that competitive edge when it comes down to you and one other candidate. They might even support the same charities as you!
So how do you showcase your volunteering experience?
Everyone’s CV is formatted a little differently, but most people include a volunteering section just after their work experience. There are a few key details you’ll want to include to make sure hiring managers fully understand the impact of your volunteering efforts. These include:
• When and where you volunteered
• The program or organisation you volunteered for
• Some of the things you helped achieve while there
Don’t have any volunteer experience? Not to worry, there are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved at any time. As most volunteering programs are part-time, you can work a few hours a week, fitting it alongside your work and personal life. Find out what volunteering opportunities are available today.
This content was provided by CharityJob, the largest and most specialised job board for the charity and not-for-profit sector in the UK.