The Benefits of Volunteering
As a recent graduate fresh out of university, I found myself in a predicament that most graduates find themselves in...lack of experience.
I had just spent the past 3 years investing in my career; a career that, theoretically, I haven’t even started. So what do you do when you want to gain experience, but can’t secure employment because you have no experience? Difficult, I know.
Well, the answer to that is - volunteering! Volunteering will help you gain the experience you need as well as the confidence to step into an interview and prove you’re the one for the job.
I am currently volunteering at CXK, in the marketing department. So far, I’ve been managing their outbound communications for a project within their National Citizen Service (NCS) summer programme, which is great experience which complements my Marketing Communications degree.
Before starting the role, I had previously worked as a team leader on the NCS programme, so felt I had a wealth of experience and knowledge of the programme which I could bring to the volunteering role. In addition, NCS gave me my first experience of a different side to volunteering – volunteering within the community – and the benefits that it can bring.
A large proportion of the NCS programme is dedicated to encouraging young people to volunteer within their local communities. This involves each young person donating at least 30 hours of their time to designing and delivering a project or campaign within their local community – with amazing results! Such work helps local charities and organisations to achieve things that they desperately need – whether that’s raising donations, awareness or renovating a garden – and which they don’t have the funds to achieve on their own.
While this is slightly different side to volunteering than my volunteer work within the CXK marketing department, the principles are the same – donating your time to an activity that builds your own network and experience, whilst benefitting other people, can be both rewarding and life-changing for all concerned.
So back to me! Knowing that the time and effort I’m volunteering is benefitting hundreds of young people, while helping me to upskill and gain experience, is what motivates me each day. One piece of advice I’d give is to pick something you have a genuine interest in or passion for, because that interest and passion is what will get you out of bed in the morning and drive you to succeed. Volunteering is such an amazing opportunity and experience, it’s amazing how much you can learn.
Volunteering has reassured me that marketing is genuinely what I want to do. Without the motivation of money I still look forward to coming into work and learning something new. My time volunteering for CXK and working on NCS has also made me realise that I enjoy giving back. I plan to do a lot more volunteer work after my work experience and I’d definitely recommend volunteer work to anyone. The feeling of giving back to a worthy cause makes all the hard work worth it. Not to forget the priceless skills and connections you get to make in return.
Thursday 7th June 2018