Volunteering is a way for you to interact with and make a real difference in the local community…but do you realise how much it could help you?
Even though, in recent years, top graduate recruiters have increased their number of graduate vacancies available, so many of these places go unfilled (an average of 45% of places were left unfilled per major graduate recruiting company in 2015, according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters). One reason for this is that candidates lack the soft skills that employers are looking for. In today’s competitive job market graduates need more than a degree – employers are looking for key skills such as interpersonal and communication skills, team-work and self-reliance. Volunteering is a way to gain and demonstrate these, and other key skills, to employers and stand out from the crowd.
A QMUL graduate, Michael Zamecnik, now pursuing his dream as a trainee solicitor, said “Looking back at all the applications and interviews I completed in the end, I can’t believe just how important all my volunteering experiences turned out to be! It certainly wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that nowadays, every employer considers volunteering crucial for developing a variety of valuable skills, including team work, leadership and professionalism.“ In fact, 80% of employers value volunteering on a CV.
The personal benefits you can get from volunteering go beyond securing future employment, and include self-discovery and broadening horizons. A current QMUL student Law student, Megan Domas, is a Mentor volunteer: “Outside of adding to one’s CV, it is a great opportunity to hone skills much needed in any practical aspect: responsibility, empathy and leadership. For current medical student, Harriette Pearson, volunteering has been about “meeting new people, challenging my own assumptions, and learning things that can’t be taught”.
As a student, time is on your side. Your university experience will fly by faster than you can imagine…consider your volunteering options now!
Queen Mary’s Volunteering Service, QMSU Volunteering, offer students a range of different flexible volunteering options, one-off and regular, with various charities and statutory bodies. For more information about volunteering roles available come along to their Volunteer Fair on 21 October, 1-3pm, Students’ Union Hub. Visit the QMSU Volunteering website for more info! http://www.qmsu.org/volunteering/