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How volunteering could bag you the job

There are difficult times ahead for the UK jobs market, but increased volunteering opportunities offer rays of hope

When a Manchester restaurant advertised for a receptionist role, they had no idea that 1,000 people would be keen on the job! The BBC reported that while the restaurant had expected to receive around 30 applications, they were amazed to find that 24 hours after placing the ad, 963 people had applied.

About one in four workers in Britain — almost 9 million people — have been furloughed and are still counted as employed, meaning that numbers of unemployment haven’t dropped as much as could be assumed. However, when the furlough period ends  – currently scheduled for September – we might see a huge increase in people losing their jobs. The lockdown has also prevented many people from actively job hunting, so this will increase as the country continues to open up. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom, finance and tech firms are on a hiring spree, alongside IT and digital technology. Warehouse pickers, delivery drivers, supermarket workers, lorry drivers and cleaners are also in demand, so it might be worth considering a new trade, which could fit nicely around a side-hustle or passion-project.  

So when you’re up against hundreds of other qualified applicants, it can come down to splitting hairs. Now, we’re not saying that volunteering experiences are the factor that gets you a job, but they can certainly be one of the factors that gets you noticed. And with opportunities for volunteering blossoming, there’s never been a better time to give it a go. 

What could volunteering say about you? 

“Nowadays, modern companies look for candidates with a growth mindset. They want employees who are dedicated and hardworking. People with this type of mindset strive to learn, they see problems as opportunities and they persist despite obstacles,” says Tatiana Rehmova at Charity Job. 

For companies with employer supported volunteering initiatives or CSR commitments, it is certainly a bonus for new recruits to show a demonstrable interest in volunteering. Such positivity can be beneficial for team morale, helping to engage colleagues and bring a boost of energy. 

What workplace ready skills can volunteering help you develop?

With two in five of us reporting feeling anxious about returning to the office, companies need empathetic managers with exceptional interpersonal skills now, more than ever. 

Volunteering helps you to get out and meet people from all walks of life, backgrounds, ages and personalities – not everyone you meet while volunteering will be sweet and fluffy, you may also need to work on those people management skills! Demonstrable experience of working with a diverse range of people can be just what some employers are looking for, rather than someone who has little experience outside of their bubble. 

Spring in your step – how volunteering can help get your mojo back

Giving back to your local community can be an energising boost to your self-worth and confidence, especially after months of being stuck inside. The benefits of volunteering to our performance at work are well known by employers, which is why some companies offer up to seven days off work to volunteer!

And volunteering acts don’t need to be huge and showy. Micro-volunteering is booming in the UK, showing how multiple small acts of kindness can build up to make real change. Such bite-sized volunteering activities fit in to busy schedules, so you don’t need to put volunteering on hold while committing to the job hunt. 

Over the course of the UK’s lockdown, volunteering took off like never before, with covid-19 mutual aid groups springing up across the country, and 600,000 people signing up to help the NHS. Can you say that you were a part of this epic movement?

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