Although many people volunteer for reasons such as, wanting to make a difference to the lives of others, a desire to do something meaningful with their spare time or simply wishing to help a certain group of people, it is important to remember that volunteering experiences are extremely valuable for securing internships, jobs and postgraduate education. As such, the Warwick Volunteers staff and executive committee are launching a new section on our website about ‘Using Your Experiences’ containing many different pages and resources.
Our ‘Alumni Stories’ page reveals how volunteering helped former Warwick volunteers to shape their professional career. One example is Simon Collier, a former exec member and Kidz Kamp project leader, who decided that primary education was the career for him after volunteering with children, despite having never considered this before. In contrast, volunteering as a student tutor helped Nicholas Bungard realise that teaching was not for him and he now works in risk management. Although our alumni have varied experiences, one common theme runs through their stories in that volunteering was hugely helpful in the development of skills such as leadership, communication and teamwork skills.
^ Simon Collier with other Kidz Kamp volunteers!
^ Nicholas Bungard with our ‘volunteering bug’.
Another page on the website, ‘Application Tips’, contains real examples of volunteering experiences being used on CVs and in applications and interviews. Some of these examples include useful feedback from Student Careers and Skills to show how they can be turned from good to great! Volunteering experiences are perfect for questions like ‘please describe an achievement of importance to you’ or ‘describe a time where you have worked as part of an effective team’. Furthermore, volunteering is highly valued by employers with 87% of employers being of the opinion that volunteering can have a generally positive effect on career progression for people aged 16-25 (Youth Volunteering: Attitudes and Perceptions, 2008).
With volunteering experiences being so respected, it is important not to forget all the skills you’ve developed and challenging and diverse situations you have been in! When you’re volunteering, why not keep a record of situations that might be valuable in an interview situation or on your CV? This can be done in many different ways, from a video blog to a written diary. You can combine your volunteering experiences with records of other aspects of university life through Student Careers and Skills’ ‘Tell your Story’: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/careers/getahead/tellyourstory/.
Other important resources on the page include a link to download a volunteering log so you can track your volunteering hours and receive a certificate in recognition of your achievement, information about using Warwick Volunteers as a referee and links to other useful pages on the Student Careers and Skills website.
To check out our new section click here: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/about/community/volunteers/resources/using_your_experience. Don’t forget, you can leave feedback about our new section, the website in general or any other aspect of Warwick Volunteers using our ongoing feedback form: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/about/community/volunteers/resources/feedback/ . We would love to hear your thoughts!
Amy, Warwick Volunteers President