How Volunteering Can Boost Your Career

Published on Thursday 9 June 2016

How Volunteering Can Boost Your Career

Mannequin: Nursing work experience in mexicoWith many employers now looking to see what it is that makes you different from the numerous other job applications, volunteering can give your career prospects a boost.

From gaining practical hands-on experience to building professional relationships, volunteering goes beyond the realm of making us feel good inside to proving our worth when it comes to our careers.

To help you decide if a medical placement abroad is for you we’ve put together just how volunteering can help your career.

Career Exploration

Ambulance work experience placements in MexicoHow many of us have started a job before we realised that it’s actually very different from how it looks on paper? Far more people probably come to that realisation than they would care to admit out loud. Volunteering can help to give you chance a to ‘try on’ a particular role, before you take it up full time.

A job role on paper can be vastly different to what you’ll end up doing on a day to day basis, and the reality is often very different to our expectations. A volunteering placement can help to give you chance to see what a role will really be like in reality or whether that particular working environment or organisation is right for you.

New and Improved Skillset

Medical work experience in GhanaEach new job or role develops our skills. Volunteering in a new environment also helps us to apply our current skills in different ways. Whether it’s the new skills you learn, or old skills which are put into practice in different ways, both of these can help to boost job applications.

Working in a different country exposes you to processes that are a lot different to what you’ve previously been used to. A new environment can also help us to adapt our existing skillset or knowledge base and perhaps learn a better or different way of doing something we hadn’t thought of before. Diversity is what makes us unique, and adding volunteering to your CV can help to make your career stand out.

Network Expansion

medical elective placements in ChinaMany jobs these days are often about ‘who you know, not what you know’, and volunteering can help you to expand your network outside of your home country and across Europe, Asia and Africa, not to mention the connections you’ll make with those also on the trip.

You should never underestimate the value a network of likeminded professionals can bring to your career. Not only will you be able to learn vital skills and information from people you otherwise might not have met, you’ll hear about new job openings, and be able use those in charge of your placement as references on your CV.

Dedication to a Cause

Dental electives in CambodiaPotential employers like to see dedication in job applications and there’s no better way to show that than through a volunteer placement. Volunteering can help to show that you’re willing to dedicate yourself and your time to a particular cause, which benefits someone other than yourself.

During your time on a placement you’ll be able to soak up every part of the working environment you’re in and immerse yourself in a culture which is often vastly different to what you’re used to. Volunteering tests what you know and pushes you to think outside the box, something which you often don’t get pushed to do once you’re in full time employment.

Builds your CV

Nursing electives ChinaInterviews are granted on what an A4 sheet of paper says about you, and with the job market as competitive as ever, you need to stand out from the crowd in order to get past the first round. Qualifications are important, not to mention essential, when it comes to gaining a job in the medical profession, but volunteering can also help to show how you’ve put your skills into action in the real world.

Many interviews are based on competency based questions, which means you’ll need to provide examples of when you’ve put a particular skill to use, or succeed at a particular situation. Volunteering can provide real world experience and give you the opportunity to draw on your experiences abroad.

New Cultures and Languages

Meeting new people and learning new languagesWorking in the medical sector you never know what kind of medical emergency or situation you’ll be presented with. Throw into the mix a new culture and language, and you’ll find yourself in a situation where you’ll have to think on your feet, overcome language barriers and be respectful to a new culture.

We live in an increasingly global world, where languages and cultures can blur into one, so learning from those abroad can help to improve your employment prospects greatly. Gaining an understanding outside of your comfort zone, and in a completely different environment can prove you’re willing to do something different in order to better your career.

The first step in your volunteering journey is to decide which project is for you, the next step is career domination.