Corporate social responsibility is a key consideration for companies today. People want to know that they are doing business with ethical and sustainable enterprises. Diversity and inclusion is an important part of the fabric of any workforce, and volunteering experience is no longer seen as just a warm and fuzzy ‘nice to have’.

Many companies now run volunteering programmes, sometimes giving employees the opportunity to take a day or two off with full pay to volunteer. It is a two-way street, with volunteering providing experiences and skills that may not necessarily be gained in the normal working environment. Employers are taking volunteering experience seriously, understanding that exposure to different environments and working practices have practical applications in the workplace.

Here we look at the benefits of volunteering and how it can be presented on your CV to appeal to potential employers.  

1. Try new fields of work

If you are thinking of a career change, then volunteering can give you the opportunity to try different occupations that you may not be able to get exposure to in a paid capacity. For example volunteering at the local theatre if you are into the arts, or helping out at your local hospital if you are considering a career switch to nursing.  

2. Learn new skills

Helping with a major fundraiser could give you planning and budgeting skills which would then be applicable for a job in event management, for example. Dealing with different kinds of people will also be beneficial for your interpersonal and relationship building skills, which go a long way in the corporate world.

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3. Networking

Volunteering offers the opportunity to develop personal and professional relationships that you would not necessarily have been exposed to otherwise. Pro-bono work attracts people from all walks of life. You never know who you will meet and how they could be helpful for your career growth. If you’re not a natural, take a look at our tips.

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4. Stay humble

It’s all too easy to become wrapped up in your own world and begin to take yourself too seriously. Volunteering opens your eyes to other ways of living and the importance of remembering that we are all small cogs in a very big wheel.

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5. Boost your resume

Often, candidates who have volunteer work on their resumes have an advantage as they are perceived to have the enthusiasm, energy and willingness to offer more than just the bare minimum. Make sure that your volunteering experience isn’t hidden away at the end of your resume. List your professional pro-bono experience as a job alongside your paid employment as the former is no less valid.

Don’t forget to include a paragraph on your volunteer experience in your background summary on your LinkedIn profile.