GUEST BLOG: Valuable skills from volunteering

UoY Careers Balloon illy Guest blog written by Opus Energy, business energy suppliers

When it comes to boosting your CV and employability, there are few things better than volunteering. If you target your volunteer work towards the industry you’d like to work in or you engage in general volunteering, you can put yourself ahead and acquire new skills. A 2013 Deloitte survey revealed that 76% of HR representatives consider the skills and experience gained by volunteers as more desirable than a candidate without the same experience.

But what skills do you actually learn? Here are some of the most valuable skills you’ll acquire when volunteering.

Expanded network: one of the keys to being a successful worker is a network of contacts and colleagues who you can learn from and grow alongside. Volunteering gives you access to a network of people who you can build early relationships with. Stay in touch online once you’ve completed your volunteering period.

Leadership: most recruiters and companies value some leadership experience. Volunteering allows you to use your initiative in lots of different areas. For example, teaching volunteers can use their classroom experience as an example of their leadership skills.

Adaptability: whether you’re volunteering in marketing, teaching, environmentalism or any other industry, you’ll learn what it takes to exist in the working world – adaptability. You’ll be presented with varying tasks and responsibilities that will change as the placement goes on.

Communication: in the digital era, communication is a vital skill. Internal and external communications are vital to building a strong company. As such, your communications experience gained from volunteering can help in all kinds of businesses. Confused about what constitutes as experience of this? Negotiation, mediation, teaching, learning, teamwork, social media and email marketing are all great examples.

Teamwork: As cliché as it sounds, the working world often involves collaborative efforts and this means teamwork. Whether you volunteer at home or abroad, you’ll pick up lots of teamwork experience when you’re working alongside other volunteers or colleagues.

Specific skills: depending on where you head for your volunteering experience, you can acquire some specific industry skills. Volunteering at an IT firm, for instance, can see you picking up programming skills, while you could learn PR at a charity by helping out with their communications and press releases.

Ultimately, selecting an industry or area you’d like to work in means you’ll pick up relevant skills as well as more general ones. You’ll stand out to employers on your CV and during an interview. 

Opus Energy are specialists in supplying business energy and hold a place on the Sunday Times’ top 100 companies to work for. Visit their website to find out more: For information about the company’s graduate programme as well as employee benefits and tips for applying, take a look at their careers section.