Volunteer and Boost Your Career

Have you seen the Ebola awareness banner at the top of your Facebook News Feed this week?  Corporate philanthropy, the sentiment of businesses giving back or serving the local community, is not new on the scene and has long been a key priority for companies.  Yet in the viral age a company’s charitable power can stretch much further.  Through its current campaign, Facebook is reaching out to one in nine people in the world to raise money for the Ebola epidemic.  While Facebook’s following might be slightly larger than most, companies can do a lot of good by promoting charitable causes to their online audience.  And photos of employees helping out members of the local community on Twitter and Facebook don’t do any harm for the company image either.  Philanthropic?  Yes, although there is equally some business sense behind it all…

Inspiring and motivating staff

Primarily, we’re talking about employee engagement.  Setting aside time at work to devote to making a difference increases employee satisfaction by a 2:1 ratio according to Net Impact’s report.  Those who have the option to make a positive contribution to society through work feel their role is more fulfilling, thereby enhancing employee performance.  Furthermore, team volunteering can improve staff morale and increase company loyalty – the benefits speak for themselves.

Attracting the best talent

What’s more, a happy workforce has a knock-on effect on the recruitment side of the picture.  Nowadays, a company’s social reputation says a lot to future employees and can be the distinctive trigger in a job seeker’s decision.  Equally, from a recruiter’s point of view, Deloitte found that among US employers “Skilled volunteering can improve a job candidate’s chances of getting hired”.  This isn’t surprising when you consider the transferrable skills gained through voluntary experience; those of time management, teamwork and commitment to name a few.  First and foremost though, choosing to volunteer indicates that you have an interest in other people, which is likely to stand you in good stead when applying for a job.

What to write on your CV

So, as more and more companies jump on the benevolence bandwagon, it’s a good idea to include your voluntary experience on your CV.  Now then, how best to present it?

  • List your voluntary experience under the ‘Related Experience’ heading. If you have significant voluntary experience, you could consider creating a new heading altogether, although this is only recommended if you have worked for several organisations.
  • Keep a log of your responsibilities when volunteering. This will prove useful when it comes to writing your CV or preparing for an interview.
  • Keep in touch with your contacts from the organisation as they could serve as your referees. If possible, ask them for a recommendation on LinkedIn.
  • Before an interview, ensure that you have read up on the company’s social and ethical commitments. This will allow you to discuss some of the projects which particularly appeal to you and in which you would like to get involved should you receive an offer.

Finally and most importantly, in a world of such inequality, doing your bit to help others is everyone’s responsibility; companies and individuals alike.  It’s never too late to volunteer…

If you found this advice useful, head to our blog for similar tips.  To consult our latest job offers, look here.

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