Volunteer work gives you edge


According to ForGood, volunteer work can help high school, college or university graduates build their portfolios and develop sought-after skills, which companies and organisations require of job applicants.

“The need for further education or training, internships or solid work experience, is often emphasised to young people,” said Andy Hadfield, CEO of volunteering portal and CSI (Corporate Social Initiatives) management tool forgood.co.za. “Through no fault of their own, most matriculants and some graduates don’t have this. This makes applying for jobs intimidating and more often than not unsuccessful.”

The ForGood platform provides a space for individuals to find skill-based volunteering opportunities that are listed according to location and categories of interest. It also allows individuals to offer specific skills online, which is then distributed to various causes registered with the orgood site.

“In many cases, the job seeker is aware of their talents and skills – be that coding, design, writing or top marks in accounting, but they have yet to find opportunities to demonstrate them,” said Hadfield. “Especially when entering their first job, or coming in at a junior position, a portfolio of work – paid or not – is a big foot in the door. It sets you apart from other candidates with similar qualifications.”

Read Youth unemployment a key issue

Hadfield also added some important tips for job seekers:

  • Volunteer strategically – it is important to find opportunities that offer a learning and growing curve
  • Understand that volunteering is an opportunity to pursue your passions and challenge yourself – you are much more of an asset to an organisation if you take up a job you enjoy
  • Find something that is meaningful for both you and the cause, whether it be reception work, tutoring, proposal writing, language translation, design work, social media, fundraising, data capturing and so on
  • Showcase your activities on your LinkedIn profile as the site reports that 41 per cent of employers consider volunteer work to be as important as paid work. It also makes you a more interesting and diverse candidate.

Let us know what tips you have on improving your chances of finding a job by emailing the Rosebank Killarney Gazette at rkg@caxton.co.za.

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