From the entire team at East African Playgrounds we wish you a happy, successful and prosperous New Year in 2020. I’m Jack, Partnerships and Fundraising Manager at the charity and I’m sharing with you just some of the many awesome benefits of volunteering in terms of boosting your career prospects.

During my time at university, I was always of the opinion that my success for the future was solely reliant on how well I did in my studies, but I say that's no longer true!

Whilst obviously we're not advising you to wing it in your exams and not hand in that assignment you've only just remembered is due at the end of the week (we've all been there!), there are a range of options out there for university students that can complement your degree and set you up for success post-graduation. One of these options is volunteering, and I say it’s by far one of the best things to do! Here are five ways that volunteering can boost your career prospects:

 

  1. Standing out from the crowd – Not only does volunteering impact and benefit the lives of others but it also can also really help you to stand out from the crowd when job searching. Research from LinkedIn shows that around 30% of employers hire a candidate based on their volunteering experience. Do something that shows you care and be proud of it!

  2. Learning valuable skills – Have you ever looked up volunteer opportunities for the summer but got put off by the fundraising target? You’re thinking all wrong! The art of fundraising combines a cocktail of super-attractive skills for a potential employer. Whether it’s pitching to members of the public on the street, being able to balance your workload whilst fundraising alongside your studies or organising and managing an event like a pub quiz at your local. Not many opportunities can give you this experience before post-grad life, and you can really sell these transferable skills to employers.

  3. Developing connections – Volunteering gives opportunities to meet a wide variety of people that all share a wonderful common goal. Volunteers report experiences of feeling driven, supported and inspired by their fellow volunteers and as a result have made lifelong personal and professional relationships that continue to prove beneficial for the future

  4. Developing a growth mindset –By volunteering overseas you are demonstrating that you are confident in taking a step out of your comfort zone, being sensitive and integrating into new cultures and learning new things about yourself and the world around you. Being adaptable is a great skill to have both in the world of work and in your personal life, and volunteering gives you a sense of seeing problems as opportunities and teaching you how to persevere through challenges.

  5. Invest in your future – The most successful people in the world don’t end up there by chance. Investing in your own future by taking part in opportunities to learn, develop and master skills will bring about valuable life lessons that are key to help you get ahead in life. Volunteering gives you a chance to try out new skills and experiences often in a positive, supportive and rewarding environment.

 

So, there you have it, 5 ways that volunteering can help set you up for success for life post-graduation. To see how you could get involved, why not get in touch with your university's volunteer department or Students' Union Raising and Giving (RAG) Society.

There are still some spaces on our upcoming 2020 Uganda Volunteer Project. You can experience two or four incredible weeks out in Uganda, exploring the beautiful country and helping to transform an empty playing field into an amazing new playground at a local primary school! For more information, click here.