Volunteering can help you to take your mind off your worries. Whether you have broken up with your partner, retired, never worked before, lost somebody close to you or found yourself out of work, volunteering can give you a focus and something to get up for.

2. Volunteering increases self-confidence

 

 

We all go through difficult times in life and many of us lose self-confidence. Volunteering can help you to build up your confidence again and your identity. Helping others and the community can feel good and can give you a sense of pride.

3. Gain and develop skills and experience

Volunteering can help you to gain or develop a variety of specialist skills such as Adobe Photoshop if you are a voluntary graphic designer or cookery skills if you are a volunteer chef. Volunteering also helps you to gain or further develop transferable skills such as problem solving, communication, team work, leadership, independent working and time management skills which are valued by all employers in all sectors. Whatever your situation, volunteering can help you to gain experience and skills that can help you to grow both personally and professionally.

4. Volunteering can help you to plan your next career move

Volunteering may be a hobby or it could be a stepping stone into paid work or a new career direction. Volunteering can very useful to “dip your toes into” to explore if a specific job or sector is for you before committing to studying qualifications or applying for jobs. You will see first-hand what the work involves and whether it is what you expected. You can also have conversations with your colleagues to find out more about the role and work out if you are a good fit.

 

5. Meet new people

Volunteering can help you to make friends and connections that could help you to progress throughout your career. Volunteering exposes you to people who have shared interests and these people could become your friends and/or they could help you to develop yourself both personally and professionally. Connecting with others is good for health and wellbeing and can help combat loneliness and depression.

 

6. Volunteering helps to combat depression

The NHS’ 5 steps to wellbeing are: connect with other people, be physically active, learn new skills, give to others and pay attention to the present moment. Volunteering can allow you to achieve these 5 steps which will improve your mental health. Volunteering can also help you to distract yourself from negative thought patterns and enable you to build a support network.

7. Improve your CV

All experience whether unpaid or paid deserves a place on your CV even if it’s not related to the role you are applying for. Volunteering is not essential, so if you do volunteer/have volunteered then this can make your CV stand out. Volunteering can say a lot about you as a person: your interests, values and passions which could be relevant to the job you want to apply for or the sector you want to work in. For example, a digital marketing volunteer role shows that you are creative and artistic and a helpline volunteer role shows you are empathetic and enjoy helping others.

 

8. Volunteering helps to counteract the effects of stress, anger and anxiety

Working with people and animals and helping them has been shown to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety. When you volunteer you can agree with the organisation how often you would like to volunteer which can be helpful.

 

9. Receive a reference

Volunteering at an organisation can lead to a reference being written for you for another role whether it’s a paid job or another voluntary position.

 

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