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Introducing the voluntary sector
Introducing the voluntary sector

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3.3 Making the most of your volunteering

If you already volunteer, you may wish to include your volunteering experience as part of your CV – and many job application forms do specify to do this. The next activity gives you some suggestions on how to think about this. Even if you are not planning a job application, it is still useful to do this activity as it gives you a chance to reflect on any experience you have. If you want to learn more about creating a CV, you might want to take a look at another badged free course on OpenLearn, Succeed in the workplace [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Activity 7 Putting volunteering on your CV

Timing: Allow approximately 5 minutes

Make notes on the following (you could also incorporate the first three aspects into a practice CV):

  • What did you do while volunteering and what have you achieved?
  • What did you learn and what skills did you develop?
  • What training or induction did you receive?
  • How do you want to improve from here?
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It is often not till you try to incorporate volunteering into your CV that you realise how many different skills you have learned or what valuable experience you have gained. Things like working in a team, working with customers, clients or visitors, organising an event, using social media to promote an organisation, writing a newsletter, mentoring new volunteers, chairing a meeting, and so on are all important skills and experiences. Not all volunteers receive formal training or an induction, although this is likely to be important (and relevant to a CV) in health and social care volunteer roles, especially if you work directly with service users.

You may know that you would like to be paid to work in the voluntary sector but are unsure what you would like to do. To begin by volunteering will give you the opportunity to explore different roles and to find out about different organisations. You may not get a sense of what the more specialist or senior roles are like but you would get to meet different staff members and talk to them about their jobs. Also, it is useful to know what it is like to be a volunteer and be managed by paid staff. Then, if later on you are in a position of managing or supervising volunteers, you will have experience of the ‘front line’.