67% (of employers) report that entry level candidates who have voluntary experience demonstrate more employability skills (according to the CIPD Unlocking Talent Report)
The skills they cite include: communication, teamwork, and understanding the community. But the list definitely don’t end there – you can develop soft skills through volunteering but also more specific skills relating to the area of work you hope to move into. It’s this mix of hard and soft skills that make volunteering an excellent space to develop transferable and work ready skills.
Interestingly it’s also an excellent way to demonstrate those skills – employers don’t just want to hear you confidently tell them you can work in a team, market a product or that you’re passionate about tackling education equality, they want to see that you can demonstrate those things. All of which you can do, flexibly and with little experience, through finding the right volunteering opportunity.
Finally, it’s a way to test what you want to do. Think you’d like to volunteer with children? Volunteer with a children’s charity, see if it’s something that you enjoy and comes naturally. Wondering if you’d be good with social media? Find a society that needs someone to up their social media presence and use it as a space to learn.
Volunteering is a flexible, interesting way to be able to get ready for leaving university: whether you want a job that changes the world, or not. And all volunteering counts: spending your time with a local charity, running at society in the union, campaigning, fundraising – anything at all where you’re getting stuff done on your own steam.
It’s Student Volunteering Week this week (22nd-29th February) and we’re celebrating with taster volunteering all week. Find out how you can get involved here. For volunteering all year round check out the Careers newsletter, Student Hubs at SOAS or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find the right opportunity for you.