Volunteering is a great way to ease yourself into employment, especially if you have never had a civilian job before or been out of employment for an extended period of time.
Think about volunteering as training for your next job. If you are unsure of what role you would like to go into, volunteering is an excellent opportunity to try out different roles to see which one you enjoy. In fact, a 2021 study by the Royal Voluntary Service found that 20% of volunteers in their thirties and 17% in their forties used volunteering to retrain or gain experience for a career-change.
For military spouse Birdie, she used volunteering to change careers during a very turbulent time in her life. “When I registered with the Forces Employment Charity I was in-between moving from London to Plymouth and was juggling being on furlough from my previous company with both moving and looking for a career change in a new city. One of the biggest challenges was identifying what type of role I was looking for and where to look for those specific opportunities. Volunteering has enhanced my skills and I have gained lots of experience.”
If you already know what career you would like to go into then volunteering is a great way to build on your skills and get more experience in the field. Remember, that volunteering is still professional experience, so include any volunteering experience and achievements in your CV and cover letter when applying for a permanent position.
Additionally, volunteering in the sector that you would like to get a permanent job in is an excellent way to network with like-minded individuals who may have a similar job to the one that you would like. This is a great opportunity to ask any questions that you may have about your desired field and make a useful connection. You never know, the connections you make volunteering may know of permanent employment opportunities that you can apply for.
Saidou, who formerly served in the Royal Navy, used volunteering for The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) as not only a way to get full-time employment, but also to boost his confidence. “Volunteering with The Royal Navy Royal Marine Charity is wonderful as it could lead to full time employment with the charity, and it has increased my confidence in getting a job,” Saidou says.
How do I apply for a volunteering position?
Applying for a volunteering position is just the same as applying for a job. You will more than likely have to submit a CV and cover letter that identifies your strengths and skills in relation to the position and how you can be of benefit to the organisation.
If you have a list of organisations that you would like to volunteer for, but none of them have any volunteering opportunities open, then don’t hesitate to get in touch and enquire whether they would be open to having you as a volunteer or when they may have opportunities open. It’s important to be as proactive about volunteering opportunities as you would be about applying for a job.
Remember, the best way to succeed in applying for a volunteer position is to show that you are eager to help, hardworking, trustworthy and reliable. Despite volunteering positions being unpaid it is important to treat it as you would a permanent, paid, position, so, to be successful, you should commit to the time the organisation needs.
If you want help finding volunteering positions or a permanent job, then register with us today.