Volunteer to Boost Your CV

We look at the value volunteering can add to your CV and assist you in securing your ideal job

Put some personality in your CV

Many people try to give their curriculum vitae a bit of personality by adding a section on hobbies and interests.

Human resources managers who must have interviewed thousands of candidates for all sorts of roles over the course of their careers quickly learn to discount anything they read under this heading.

Fake Pass-Times

Many HR managers have had too many times when they have asked about a hobby only to be told that the hapless candidate had tried it once on a school trip in the dim and distant past, but hadn’t got round to doing it since.

One HR manager tells us that a candidate once asked them ‘It looks good on the CV though….doesn’t it?’

Another HR manager told us about the apparently cultured candidates, who list theatre, cinema and literature as hobbies, but can’t discuss the last play or film they saw or the last book they read.

Work-Life Balance

All this could be set to change.

Firstly because there is an increasing desire amongst many people to achieve a better ‘work/life balance’.

There is a corresponding increase in interest amongst employers in ensuring from a health and safety perspective that employees have an antidote to work place stress.

This means that what you do outside work could influence your job hunting success.

Include volunteering in candidate assessments

Lord Digby Jones a former director general of the CBI has called for employers to include community involvement as criteria in recruitment, promotion and pay decisions.

To many senior managers who cut our working teeth in the results driven nineteen eighties getting involved in our communities as an aid to getting a new job, promotion or pay rise, may seem to be a somewhat alien concept.

Royal Endorsement

As long ago as 2005 which was the year of the volunteer many prominent figures joined the CBI in calling for more volunteering including, HRH the Prince of Wales who has challenged employers to get 25% of their employees involved in volunteering.

Volunteering for employee development

Research conducted in the year of the volunteer by Abeceder on behalf of Business in the Community (BITC) in to the potential of volunteering as an employee development tool has found that employers do value people who get involved in their local communities.

Benefits for all

The experience of working in a not for profit organisation, where cash is tight and services have to be delivered via volunteers provides the opportunity to develop new skills and practice elements of their skill set, which their job role does not require them to use on a regular basis.

Transferable skills

Not surprisingly the volunteer sector is crying out for more people to get involved.

Few of you could have missed the increase in television advertising for the reserve forces, promoting the transferability of skills between forces and civilian roles.

Case studies

A female employee at a building society in Yorkshire was criticised by her manager for not being assertive in meeting.

Volunteering to join the committee of a local charity, where she was expected to be the expert gave her the confidence to be more assertive at work.

A new graduate recruit at an insurance company in the East of England needed to develop negotiation skills.

Working as a fund raiser for a local boy’s football team allowed him to learn through negotiating for funding and sponsorship.

Shortage of volunteers

Buses have been covered in posters, proclaiming just how much like a magistrate we all look.

Schools of all kinds are actively seeking parents and business people to become school governors.

Thousands of children are unable to join the brownies, cubs, guides and scouts and similar groups because there is a shortage of adults who are willing to lead the groups.

Several smaller charities have been threatened with closure, because they have been unable to recruit qualified trustees.

All of these forms of volunteering require a of commitment, of time, over an extended period, require some form of training and involve very specific legal responsibilities, which many people may not feel comfortable accepting.

The commitment

Volunteering will always include some form of commitment, but it doesn’t have to be major.

Every charity event, sports club, fundraising activity or relief project needs somebody who accepts responsibility for it, and they need people who are willing to make some form of commitment to help them make it happen.

Get involved

Regardless of what leisure activity you get involved in, there will be a club or society linked to it in your local area.

Joining those groups will give you access to an activity that will improve your work/life balance, and an opportunity to make the next interviewer sit up and listen to something really interesting.

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