Changing Lives. Inspiring Action.

By Vanessa Ash

Having a degree qualification does not guarantee a ‘high flying’ job or even a job. Our economy is still struggling with the recession; 30.4 per cent of the 18-24 age group have been unemployed for over a year, and the numbers continue to grow. One in three recent graduates are employed in lower skilled jobs than originally intended.

True Volunteers working at TVF's HQ

In this tough job market; graduates need an edge over their competition; could a possible solution be volunteering? Volunteering is significant in increasing an individual’s job prospects. 87 per cent of employers regard volunteering as a ‘positive effect on career progression for young people’.

Of course which activities you volunteer in should be parallel to your career focus as this is more likely to prepare you for a permanent role and employers may be more likely to consider you for a position.

Volunteering makes a statement

Spending your time, helping others for free shows that you are not purely motivated by money. Employers admire this and will get the impression that you are a dedicated, motivated worker. 73 per cent of employers would employ candidates with volunteering experience over those without.

Employers expect certain levels of work experience

Volunteering as opposed to most internships – allows volunteers to stay on as long as they want to; this benefits the volunteers as they can reach the level of experience they feel they need before they choose to leave. This is particularly useful when employers require 6 months plus of experience; the volunteer will gain sufficient experience to ease them into their new job.

Volunteering increases your confidence which translates well to employers

Volunteering can give you a positive attitude and sense of accomplishment; 88 per cent of volunteers say volunteering gives them a sense of personal achievement’, 83 per cent say it ‘gives me the chance to do things that I am good at’ and 97 per cent say they get ‘a sense of satisfaction from seeing the results’.

Feeling that you are able to contribute effectively and being passionate about what you have achieved will increase your self -confidence which will come across well to employers and increase your chances of landing a job.

Mental Stimulation

Individuals with free time, the unemployed and those in between careers can keep their brains active by being productive. Instead of being stuck in mundane routines you will be in the process of learning and encountering social interactions which are new to you, helping develop your skills set.

In today’s job market achieving relevant work experience will increase your chances of being considered for employment over another graduate with no experience; volunteering is highly desirable to employers.