Need skills your course doesn’t give you? Why not volunteer!

How many times have you looked at a job advert that asks for a skill you just don’t have? Or been asked in a job interview about a time you had to work in a team or teach somebody something and you didn’t have a clue how to answer?

As brilliant as your degree is, there will always be some skill that it just doesn’t give you. And that seems to be the time when you see the perfect job for you, only it asks for experiences you just don’t have.

For example, as a scientist how do you show employers you can write really well? Or as a humanities student, how do you demonstrate that you enjoy working with others?  And no matter your degree, how do you show that you have dealt with difficult people? Or helped someone understand a problem?

Volunteering is a brilliant way to fill these gaps in your CV. Whatever it is you feel you’re lacking, you can always find a way to find that skill or experience with volunteering.

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Depending what you do, volunteering can be as committed or as easy-going as you would like. You can always find something that will fit around your other commitments, and you can always find something that you will enjoy. And it is a great stepping-stone to getting paid work somewhere.

At Queen Mary, you have a few options when it comes to volunteering. You can talk to QMSU Volunteering to see what they have available, from exciting one-off projects to more continual schemes. QMSU Volunteering do a range of checks on the organisations they promote to ensure that will be good quality as well as safe and secure roles for students. They also have a good working relationship with Team London so if you cannot find an appropriate placement through their service they work with them to do so. You can also check out QProjects – the Careers Centre’s very own organisation to help students do meaningful projects in charities for a set time and gain valuable work experience. 

Whatever you enjoy doing, or feel you need experience in, there will be an organisation you can volunteer for. And of course, you can always chat to a Careers Consultant if you’re not sure how volunteering can help your job prospects.

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