Anne Siebenaler, MSc Development Studies 2018, is one of our Student Volunteering Ambassadors this academic year. Having done quite a lot of volunteering before her time at LSE, Anne believes that volunteering can have a real positive affect on people, communities and society in general. Read on as she details how giving to others can improve your careers prospects.
University life is busy: besides managing the heavy reading lot, we’re supposed to spend our time preparing seminar presentations, writing essays, studying for exams and researching for our dissertation. In addition, as we are approaching the end of the Lent term, most of us start feeling some pressure to find paid work when we graduate. The job hunt, besides being stressful, can be very time-consuming: tasks such as writing applications, researching companies, polishing our LinkedIn profiles, and potentially brushing up on interview and communication skills risk taking up a huge amount of our already
limited free time.
Making time for volunteering? For many, despite all good intentions, a near impossibility. There are just too many other things, like for instance career goals, that seem to take priority. But, what if I told you that becoming engaged in fun volunteering activities and doing something great for your community will, besides benefiting your health by reducing your stress levels, make you more likely to actually land a job? Volunteering can be more than just an opportunity to give back to a cause you believe in – it can actually have a major impact on your job search and make you stand out from the crowd.
Still not convinced? Here are four ways volunteering can have a beneficial impact on your career:
- It looks good on your CV
Let’s start with the most obvious one first. Recruiters are looking for people who, despite being busy, recognise the importance of doing something positive with their free time. Having done volunteer work will allow you to present yourself not only as a community-minded but also a versatile person with many talents and interests.
- It allows you to develop an important set of transferable skills
Whether it is spending some time tutoring primary school kids, cooking for the elderly or doing administrative work for an NGO, every volunteer opportunity will help you to develop useful competencies such as time management, teamwork, problem solving and communication skills.
- It presents an opportunity to create a useful network
No, contrary to what is often assumed, networking doesn’t just need to be done at a formal networking event or on LinkedIn. Given that they often provide a friendly, low-pressure environment, volunteering opportunities can be an easy way to enhance your networking skills and create meaningful connections with people that share your interests and might be able to give useful advice on how to succeed in a specific field.
- It helps you to define your career goals
Spending time volunteering can be a great opportunity to get useful insight into the working of a specific organisation and thus find out a little bit more about what field it is that could potentially interest you as a future career possibility. Engaging in volunteering activities can help you to constantly grow both as a person and a professional.
Wondering how to get started? Come to one of the events organised during Student Volunteering Week and/or speak to one of the Student Volunteer Ambassadors; we will be more than happy to inform you about the numerous volunteering opportunities available to LSE students!
Did Anne inspire you to start volunteering?
If Anne inspired you to volunteer, check out one of our other 200+ ongoing opportunities or book a one-to-one with Gabriella Monasso, the Volunteer Centre Manager if you have more questions. If you are short on time, then take a look at the one-off opportunities taking place in Lent Term organised by the LSE Volunteer Centre. And why not follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date with our events and opportunities and read our blog for more volunteering tips and stories.