What Volunteer Work Can do For You
Question from Job Seeker:
This is my last year at college and I have been thinking about doing some volunteer work that I could mention on my CV to cover my lack of experience when I start applying for jobs. Do you recommend that? Can volunteer work replace work experience at least temporarily?
Answer from Bayt HR Guru:
This is a great question. Although most students and professionals overlook the importance of volunteer work, we highly encourage you to go ahead with this step for many reasons.
Thoughtfulness and devotion:
Volunteer work is a great way to prove your thoughtfulness and devotion when it comes to giving back to your community. Not only is it positive for your image, it also gives you a great sense of satisfaction and usefulness that you can’t possibly get from any other activity.
When you’re a student or even a working professional, volunteer work can be very beneficial to you as it helps you learn many things and offers you a wide experience that you can add to your journey in life as well as to your CV. On a side note, employers always value a candidate who would devote his extra time willingly to volunteer for a cause they truly believe in and look at it as an important sign of commitment. Doing volunteer work after graduating can also help you explain during your job interviews what you’ve been doing post-graduation.
Now to focus on the correlation between professional work and volunteer work, answering the below questions is essential:
Would any volunteer work help me get a job?
While every volunteer work is highly appreciated by the entire community, it is important for you to know that not any cause/project you commit to can help you find a job. In fact, you should run an extensive research before choosing your volunteer project making sure you select one that is most relevant to your educational background and future career endeavors.
Is the location important?
If you are thinking of working in a certain country after you graduate and would like at the same time to do some volunteer work, we highly advise you to choose a volunteer project in your target country as such an experience can increase your chances of finding a job there some time down the road.
How do I reflect volunteer work on my CV?
If you are a fresh graduate, you might want to focus most on your volunteer work as well as your educational background. You might also want to add any internship you’ve done while you were a student or right after you’ve graduated. This is also another element highly appreciated by employers and could help you fill the work-experience gap on your CV. In fact, Bayt.com’s poll on “Internships in the MENA region” (December 2012) revealed that internships are useful to both employers and interns (74.8%) with 30% stating they are equally valued by both parties. Poll also showed that the respondents who have held intern positions considered their experience to primarily be important for developing and learning new skills and knowledge (48.3%), followed by gaining experience to add to their CV (28.9%).
Best of luck in choosing the right volunteer work as your first step to career success!