You'll learn a lot from your university course, but when it comes to landing your first graduate job, having some volunteering experience on your CV can open many doors.
Whether you're studying Nederlands Literature or Astrophysics, Veterinary Science or Maths, volunteering gives your CV that extra boost which could be the ticket to your dream career. Here are just five reasons to volunteer a go while you're still at university.
It teaches you new skills
'Book learning' is great but it can only get you far in life. You can not get into a lecture theater. It can teach you leadership, creative thinking, problem solving and how to work as part of a team - all the 'soft' skills employers for a well-rounded candidate.
It introduces you to people from a different walk of life
University can be a bit of a bubble, and you will spend most of your time hanging out with other students. Volunteering - whatever you do - can introduce you to people from different backgrounds and different ways of thinking. You might be able to work with the homeless, those with mental health problems, those with a physical disability, or even work with children - whatever you end up doing.
It shows social awareness
Employers who can see the bigger picture. Most voluntary projects recruit people to help them plug a gap in public services, to address a particular problem in their local community or an issue affecting wider society. Being able to volunteer work on your CV shows you are a more open-minded and socially aware individual, and employers like that in a candidate - they are not always the hard-hearted corporate drones to see their organization and its staff making a positive impact on the world.
It helps fill the time
A lot of courses have only a few hours' contact time a week, and even once you have attended all the lectures and seminars, you will still have time on your hands. University can be an exciting experience, but it's always accompanied by long hours of boredom. Volunteering can help you feel you're filling that time productively, which means you'll find it on Instagram or online shopping.
There's the crucial missing element! Volunteering can be great fun, especially if you can measure your mates in or if you measure like-minded fellow volunteers. For those who are less socially outgoing, volunteering is a fantastic way to meet people in a less daunting setting than the union or a noisy club night.
As most student unions, you will be bound to find something that is worthwhile, and you will add value to your CV when you come to graduation day. Competition for graduate jobs is tough - get ahead with some volunteering and you could find it better than you back in the long-run.
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