Want to enhance your CV, gain new skills, and make a positive change to the world around you? Then volunteering while at university might be just the thing for you.
It’s no secret that it now takes a lot more than a degree to get you noticed by employers. As a result, extracurricular activities are becoming increasingly important - as BBC Dragons' Den entrepreneur James Caan explains, ‘When I see two graduates whose CVs read the same, I look for activities like volunteering which gives the CV a unique selling point.’
James is like 73% of employers who said they would employ someone who has volunteered over someone who hasn’t. In fact, over 70% of employers believe that those who volunteer are more likely to earn a higher salary and gain promotion than those who don’t!
And it isn’t just your career that will benefit. As a volunteer you will also have the opportunity to:
- develop existing skills and gain new ones
- make a positive difference to the lives of others
- build your confidence
- make new friends
- feel established within your new University city.
Whether you fancy helping out around the University, visiting schools, cleaning up the local area, or fundraising for a cause close to your heart, there really is something for everyone to try their hands at, as English Literature student Denise Renshaw discovered. When she wasn’t studying, Denise used her spare time to volunteer with the Students and Community Social Club (S.C.S.C), a new community project which aims to improve intergenerational communication and combat feelings of isolation. By assisting in the organisation and running of monthly afternoon events, she was able to establish herself within the University and wider community, as well as making a significant change to the lives of local residents.
You can see the full list of volunteering opportunities available to you by registering with PROSPECTS.
Don’t see anything you like? Don’t worry!
As part of our link with Santander Universities, we are able to offer funding to establish new volunteering projects through our Community Project Grant of up to £1,000.
But will giving up my spare time be detrimental to my academic work?
The answer is no! In fact, many of our students have found volunteering to be extremely beneficial. Take a look at Matthew Fowle, a recent Politics with Law graduate, who dedicated over 1,600 hours to volunteering during his time at Chester and still managed to walk away with a First Class Honours degree. For Matthew "there is no better feeling than knowing you are making a positive difference in someone’s life, in your community, or in the wider environment". By volunteering with the Red Cross, and co-initiating a community cinema club in his home village, he was able to develop key transferable skills, while informing his decisions regarding future career paths.
Want to know more?