As a current student or a recent graduate, I’m sure you have heard all too many times the key to getting a graduate job is ‘experience, experience, experience’. But with the pressures and demands of life, balancing a part time job, exam preparation, essay deadlines and of course a social life, it may seem as though you have no time to fit this in. However, if you can find the time, even if it were just a couple of hours a week, it would help to raise your graduate profile and develop your transferable skills. One way to do this is through volunteering. Volunteering is a great way to gain experience and skills, helping you to stand out to recruiters in a competitive job market.
So, why volunteer?
1) You can fit volunteering around your schedule, committing to just a few hours out of your day. This is your time you are investing in volunteering, so make sure it not only works for them but for you too.
2) There are many opportunities out there, all you have to do is look! If there is a specific career path you are interested in taking, volunteering is a perfect way to test it out. For example, if you would like to work as a journalist try contacting your local news offices for work experience. You can also browse voluntary vacancies through Kent Union and the Careers Vacancy Database .
You can also volunteer through a society, opportunities include first aid, homeless outreach, fundraising and volunteering with children.
3) It’s a great way to network and gain valuable contacts.
4) It will enhance your CV, contributing to your personal development, whilst giving you the chance to do something you care about.
5) You can get involved in the local community, supporting projects which benefit individuals, the community and environment.
6) You can explore different career paths and work with people from different backgrounds.
Check if the opportunity covers out-of-pocket expenses, it shouldn’t cost you to volunteer.
If you have undertaken an unpaid work placement, you may be eligible for a B:KEW bursary.
If you do take on voluntary work, log your hours on the Kent Union’s Toolkit and you may achieve an award through the Kent Student Certificate in Volunteering.