Volunteering experience: Make Volunteering 'pay'

How to make your volunteering 'pay'

Volunteering is work experience with the extra advantage that it demonstrates initiative and commitment, and in addition can give focus and direction to career planning. It can provide the experiences and demonstrate the skills that employers seek - in one survey almost 100% of student volunteers felt that such activities had added value to their personal and professional development.

'Volunteering has given me a realistic insight into an organisation I hope to work with.'

'I feel I have benefitted in self-esteem, self-confidence and time management.'

Making a Regular Record

Work-based placements provide a valuable source of information about your developing skills and attitudes, and you risk forgetting some of learning about yourself unless you regulary record what you have been doing, and reflect on your experiences, reactions, insights and achievements.


Question mark iconTake a moment to think back to a month ago:

Can you remember all the different activities you have been involved in since then?

Can you remember how you felt about those experiences, and perhaps what you might do differently another time?

Set out your notes in a way that is useful to you. It will depend on your own individual style as to whether you use:

As you become more involved in more sophisticated activities, so the language you use to describe and analyse these activities should become more specific- for example:
- Communication skills - this is really an umbrella term for a range of skills including:

Negotiation Persuasion
Active Listening Liaison
Presentation Summarising


'CV tip here!'Keeping track of your progress on paper will provide an invaluable resource for self-presentation in job applications. As you practice articulating what and how you have learnt during your voluntary activities you will build examples to use on forms, in your CV, and at interviews. It's also a habit you will need for continuing professional development in your career!

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