Having volunteer experience on your resume can give you an edge in the job market. Hiring experts share the benefits – besides the warm fuzzy feeling of giving back.
VOLUNTEERING is not just good for the soul, but it can provide very real benefits for jobseekers – particularly those at the beginning of their career.
Two in three hirers say they look more favourably on candidates that have volunteer experience on their resume, new research from employment marketplace SEEK reveals.
They are perceived to have better interpersonal skills (43 per cent of hirers believe this), be more proactive about developing their career (42 per cent) and be unafraid of challenges (40 per cent).
Online portal SEEK Volunteer currently lists more than 8800 volunteering opportunities that span one-off events through to six-month commitments.
Some require specific skills – such as photography, web development or a foreign language – or a specific ticket – such as a driver’s license or Working with Children Check – but many do not have any prerequisites.
So how can jobseekers use volunteer experience to their advantage?
Computer science graduate Alexa Nguyen, 26, landed her role as an associate developer with SEEK after volunteering with Code Like A Girl, a social enterprise providing girls and women with the confidence and knowledge to thrive in the male-dominated world of computer coding.
“(I started) because I wanted to contribute to a worthwhile cause and help create a safe space for women in tech in Adelaide, but I quickly discovered that it provided me with the tools to develop important professional skills like communication, interpersonal and team work skills, time management through balancing volunteering and study, problem solving and adaptability,” she says.
Nguyen, who studied in Adelaide but is now based in Perth, also worked as a workshop volunteer with Robogals Adelaide, a media lab volunteer with Adelaide City Library, and volunteer photographer for events such as Big Day In, the Japanese Film Festival and AVCon.
“I left the interview (with SEEK) feeling quite good because I was able to answer questions using specific examples from my volunteer experience,” she says.