Spend any amount of time looking at CVs and you discover how amazingly generous university students are with their time. I'm constantly surprised by the volunteering our students manage to be involved in which is often over and above their academic work, activities or paid jobs. I remember talking to a graduate recently who said his volunteering was his equivalent of watching East Enders! He saw it as a much better way to spend his time. As a Careers Adviser I am often out and about in the summer visiting graduate employers and it is common to come across noticeboards or staff newsletters championing their employees volunteering and community activities. Employers think volunteering is important so you should think carefully about promoting your volunteering to employers when you apply for a job.
A simple thing to consider is how you include it on your CV. Is it out there and proud or languishing somewhere on page two? Is it in a separate section or is it part of your work experience section? I see many CVs where volunteering has given someone much more significant skills than their work experience yet the placing of it on their CV is done without thought. The same is true in interviews. You don't want to use your placement, for example, in every answer you give. Add a bit of variety by using your volunteering experience too. The fact that you didn't have to volunteer may impress an employer more than a compulsary or paid activity. Or you may be able to show leadership in a voluntary activity while a paid job may not afford you that opportunity.
If you want to find out more we are running a session on the Students' Union Skills Programme on March 11th called "Selling your Volunteering to Employers" where I will be sharing my thoughts on the best way to do this. You'll need to sign up on the SU website.
If you haven't done any volunteering yet then you should think about it. It's Student Volunteering Week now so keep an eye out for events on campus or go to The Volunteering Office as they can support you with finding a volunteer placement or with putting your own unique ideas into practice.
If you fancy working in the Charity Sector as a career then check out our Charity Careers Networking Event on Thursday March 12th from 16:00 to 18:00 at the Careers Service. You can sign up and find out who is coming by checking the Events listing in MyFuture. Meanwhile check out our information sheet "Working in the Charity Sector". Come in and talk to a Careers Adviser if you want to discuss this careers option. We don't just know about business, science and engineering jobs.