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Volunteer Recognition Day

It’s Volunteer Recognition Day on 20th April and as recruiters, we love seeing volunteering on CV’s. So, to celebrate, we thought we’d share why volunteering is great for both a person in general, and their CV!

What is volunteering?

Volunteering encompasses a broad range of activities but at its most basic, a volunteer puts their time and effort into working, without pay, for a cause. This could be giving up their Saturday afternoon to hand out water to runners at a marathon or spending six months teaching underprivileged children in a war-torn country.

 

Why is volunteering important?

Volunteering is incredibly important because it helps charitable people and projects succeed, and it is mentally and physically good for you.

Volunteers often allows organisation’s events and activities to go ahead, that otherwise might have needed extra funding to pay workers instead. Funding that the organisations don’t have. This means that activities with environmental, cultural or health benefits such as;

  • litter-picking,
  • mentoring,
  • races,
  • building schools,
  • festivals and fairs
  • and feeding people

can make a much-needed difference to communities.

Whether you are giving up a couple hours a week to help a large charity with administrative work, or steward at a small charity event, the action of giving your time up to help others can also have significant health benefits to yourself. Volunteering can help lessen depression, anxiety and stress and it can build self-confidence or make you feel happy and accomplished. Volunteering that includes exercise, is going to improve your physical fitness, whereas using your mental acumen to mentor people with music, crafts or academic skills, is fantastic for keeping your brain active. Volunteering can combat loneliness and can lead to many other surprising benefits such as making new friends, lowering cholesterol or improving your emotional wellbeing.

 

How can volunteering help you get a job?

As well as the benefits talked about above, there are many transferable or specific job skills you can learn and perfect through volunteering. The jobs market is extremely competitive, and employers can afford to be very picky when choosing candidates – if you don’t stand out from the crowd you can be lost in it. Different volunteering options can help you in different ways, for example;

  • Mentoring or training could help improve your teaching skills as you tutor in different environments and meet people with different needs
  • Working in a charity shop can build your knowledge of office administration or daily shop operations
  • Volunteering in a soup kitchen or shelter can give you organisation skills that will help you in the hospitality sector
  • Stewarding at events will give you experience of how events are organised and run
  • Any volunteering that involves working with people will help develop your communication and customer service skills such as overseeing arts and crafts with kids or taking payments in a café

Don’t think that volunteering is only for young people, as, among other things like the health benefits, it’s actually a fantastic way for someone in an established career to move to another. If you have most of the transferable skills needed to get the job you want, you just lack experience in the industry, then consider volunteering as a way to get that experience.

If you are an employer looking for staff, always read the kinds of volunteering candidates have done as chances are, they have involved at least one relevant skill to the job you’re advertising. If you’re struggling to fill a position, it can be a good idea to look back at candidates who only have volunteering experience and, though you might have preferred someone experienced at doing the job before, it can be advantageous to take on a more junior version of the role and build them up.

 

How can you celebrate Volunteer Recognition Day?

There are a few ways you can celebrate Volunteer Recognition Day and the first one is by volunteering yourself! What better way to bring recognition to a cause or situation then by getting involved and telling your friends and family about it.

You can also organise for staff or colleagues to get an annual volunteering day or for groups to volunteer at specific times of the year. Create a programme that allows people to volunteer at your workplace so they can gain new skills and help bring charitable projects to fruition!

Bringing attention to volunteers by doing media shout-outs or donating prizes, money or recourses can also bring in some well-deserved credit for their hard work.

 

However you choose to recognise volunteers this April 20th, do it loudly and share it with others.

 

About the author

Rebekah Frost

A champion problem solver; whether it’s a board game or a tricky computer conundrum, Bekah's attention to detail is second to none. Her interesting and varied work experience across different sectors means she always has a story to tell, a love of people and a way to fix any issue.