Volunteering brings a bucket load of benefits so why not take some of your free time over summer and pick up some opportunities. There are lots of different types of volunteering so all you have to do is find the right activity for you and you will most likely really enjoy it!
When you’ve got a bit of spare time whether that be alongside your studies or over your summer, try and pick up a few volunteering opportunities.
Build your CV
Volunteering is an excellent way to build your CV. Not only does it show how you have built on your soft skills and put them into practise, but it shows that you have done something off your own back. It also gives you something to talk about in job interviews and can make you stand out from the other applicants.
Meet new people
Volunteering is a great way to meet new people. Especially if you are volunteering in an industry you are interested in, you will meet lots of people with the same interests as you. For example, if you are an animal person then reach out to your local public farm or RSPCA centre and see if they have any positions available or if they are happy to take you on as a n extra pair of hands. They will most likely be super grateful of you. Some things you might be doing could include feeding the animals, or dog walking at the RSPCA, etc. This may be something that’s right up your street and by doing this you will be meeting all the other staff who enjoy the same things you do. Another example could include gardening. There are lots of people who do not have the time or are unable to attend to their gardens and therefore would love the help with it. If you’re more into something like this then look up gardening opportunities on the internet in your area and see what comes back to you.
If you can’t find anything on the internet a good idea is to post a leaflet through peoples doors or reach out to friends and family to see if they are needing any help.
Give back to the community
The brilliant thing about volunteering is the feeling you get when you are feeling like you have helped other people or helped a community. Lots of companies are ever so grateful when you offer your free time to help them.
Not only is the feeling of helping people great but volunteering also showcases your character and shows how helpful you are. By taking up volunteering opportunities, you are making new links with the community and the people around you. You never know who you might come into contact with who could offer you exciting opportunities in the future such as jobs or connections they might have that could help you out.
Some volunteer opportunities are abroad. The brilliant thing about volunteering abroad is that you get to experience living in a different country for a period of time. It also means you will most likely be meeting with people from all over the world that have come to gain the same volunteering experience as you have.
These international volunteering experiences can be found on multiple sites on the internet. If you simply search international volunteering you will be able to sort through the websites to see which opportunities suit you best and make sure to check the timings of when the programs run!
Gain university credits
Some university courses require you to take part in some type of volunteering activity so by taking up volunteering opportunities you will be gaining credits towards your course.
Some universities may offer different types of awards for the activities you take part in outside of your university course. Gaining these awards makes a great addition to your CV as it shows that the university believe you have done something worth crediting.
How to find volunteering opportunities:
You may be thinking, I would love to volunteer but I don’t know how to… Well, there are lots of different ways you can get involved. Firstly, your university will have connections with various businesses, or they may even run their own volunteering programs. I myself was able to take part in a volunteering program that was 10 weeks long and fitted around my term time university timetable. The program set up students with an elderly member of the local community and we were able to teach them technology skills on their devices which included laptops, iPads and phones. Not only were we able to help out but everyone got to know each other, and it was a very rewarding program.
Some universities might outsource volunteering opportunities. To find what opportunities they have find, reach out to the employability or jobs teams (or volunteering team if you have one) and ask to see a list of opportunities you can take part in.
Another thing you can do is reach out to your local church or google volunteering opportunities in your area.
So to speak, there are no downfalls of volunteering. Especially while you have finished your final term at university and have a long summer ahead of you. The main benefit of volunteering is to put something on your CV that will evidence the skills you are confident in and stand out from the other applicants. Volunteering and giving back to the community is a big thing in lots of organisations so to show that you have already taken it upon yourself to take part will only make you look even better!