Why volunteering is still worth a try

04Jul 2020
The Guardian
Why volunteering is still worth a try

First let me start by saying that, I had never thought of working without pay but when I learnt how the history of the company’s performance and its overall professional image would elevate my career and boost my CV I forgot all the security a monthly wage comes with and actually gave it a try.

Now am not advocating for a college graduate to initially study a company’s history and background before volunteering because it’s all about what volunteering will get you at the end rather than a company’s background footage.

I graduated from college with the very first thought of landing myself a job in an institution with a very attractive wage just like any other normal and likeminded college graduate would look forward to after completing their studies.

I scrolled  through several  job sites countless times in a day and would tirelessly apply for any job opportunity that popped up, I had by then got shortlisted in like two job applications amongst the several I applied for and neither did I secure any.

I then came across a young man’s job search journey on social media which was not only a story about his struggle and eventual success but also on how he was able to launch two companies after several years of employment after graduating from college and I saw so much sense into it, practical results, career growth and even self-development from his very rare experience and unique initiative he applied throughout his journey and  had the dire need of heading  down the same road.

Sometimes the road less travelled has indeed the plentiest of treasure.

As crucial as it is to remain positive about job seeking especially for a graduate who is fresh from college with no experience, it’s also important for students to be in a position to learn from working in various institutions regardless of low pay or no pay at all.

However this requires discipline and commitment that not a majority of college students can pull up.

A young man’s story on social media encouraged me to volunteer to work in a banking institution as a volunteering assistant accountant some years back and I was in the position to gain various career insights

It enabled me to add a valuable referees’ list in my CV

Volunteering exposed me professionals in my field of study who I relied upon in doing my daily duties in the field who supervised me and who I built a professional relationship with that I use in my referees’ list in my resume to date.

This professionals have an opinion about my skill set, ethical behaviors amongst others.

I have then learnt that if you ever need people to vouch for your skills in your field of study, volunteering will provide you with experienced people who have seen you in action and can recommend you for a job even later when you are called for one. Don’t be a plain paper graduate with no skills but instead volunteer to get recommendations and references that could separate you from the rest in the job market

It outlined work experience in my CV

This was the most important strategy in my job search by then, especially when a job advert would make me quit looking at it twice due to the number of years of experience working in a relevant field one was required to have to apply.

I have come to the realization that its way better to volunteer so as to have a current employer list in your CV which will add higher chances of success of securing the position than having a resume with no experience at all which always leaves recruiters doubting your ability to perform well enough for the advertised role.

 I built priceless networks

 We have heard it before and I will say it once more, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Volunteering enabled me to grow my network where I was in a position to find out about new positions and be at the forefront of people’s minds if they learn of an opportunity.

I have come to learn that, if you don’t know many people in your field, then you are at a distinct disadvantage.

Go out there volunteer and meet people and don’t just know them by their names but also associate with them professionally.

People are investments, don’t forget that.

It kept me busy

Volunteering allowed me to be quite busy and to lift my spirits.

Volunteering prevents you from staying idle at home with nothing to do instead allows you go to work while you develop your skills and practice basics of your field of study.

It listed me on the top if a job was available in the institution

A job would even be created that wouldn’t  have existed in case there wasn’t someone working tirelessly three months straight without pay  as a Thank you note to you.

Imagine you are volunteering at a company and suddenly an opportunity pops up, they sure won’t go for someone else over you literally!

You have already proven your skills, your dedication and your passion hence will best fit the requirements for the role.

I have since come to learn that, you ought to work hard, show case your skills and always have in mind why you are there in the first place and watch yourself land an opportunity right there. All in all volunteering opened up opportunities for me that I wouldn’t know existed if I hadn’t made that decision.

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