Volunteering is, I think, something everyone should do at least once during their studies. It makes a difference to the local community, and it’s a great way to boost your CV and meet new people along the way.
The first place to look for volunteering opportunities is your university’s careers service website. This site will offer different roles ranging from graduate jobs to volunteering placements. It will have sub-sections related to different business areas - Public Sector; Administration; Engineering, for example.
These sections will help you decide which area you want to volunteer in.
Being proactive is one thing university tutors will tell you is important whilst studying. So why not be proactive in searching for volunteering opportunities by going straight to the source? If you know what role you are looking for and in which organisation, contact them directly. It will show how driven you are.
When I was doing my A Levels I knew I wanted to work with the RSPB. So I got in touch with them, applied and ended up volunteering at their Big Wild Sleepout in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Belfast. I was a nature connector, teaching campers about nature and helping them create bird feeders whilst camping in the Museum grounds.
It was such a fun and fulfilling experience, but if I hadn’t contacted them it would never have happened. If you want to volunteer, be proactive and get in touch.
No, I don’t mean do their essays. But if you see someone asking in a group chat or on Facebook for help with film productions, photography projects or research, volunteer - they will be delighted.
There is always something to help with and don’t worry if it’s not related to your degree course. The skills you gain from different projects and roles is what employers are looking for - teamwork, communication, resilience. Volunteering can help you show these skills.
Whilst living with Unite Students you get offered different volunteering opportunities, such as the Positive Impact Consultant role, which is all about promoting sustainability. I became a Positive Impact Consultant because I believe strongly in sustainability, but it has since allowed me to become a student writer for Unite Students - increasing my skills and portfolio further which, in the end, could lead to even bigger things.
So, if you are offered a role, don’t pass it up - take it and grow your skill set.
Volunteering could be the thing that clinches your graduate job, so make the conscious choice whilst you’re still studying to do a bit of charitable goodness.