Benefits of volunteering

Sarah Moyne from CDES chats about some of the professional benefits of volunteering.

Are there any professional benefits to volunteering?

So many! Volunteering can be a great way to boost your employability because it’s a chance to gain:

  • Experience working in NZ (often the first step in your job search for international students or those who have never worked before)
  • A job reference (if you impress your manager / co-workers!)
  • Experience in a relevant industry OR a relevant job
  • The beginning of a professional network 
  • Confidence in dealing with co-workers / clients / customers 
  • A variety of transferable skills and a ‘work ready’ mindset (e.g. problem solving, perseverance, leadership, communication, self-motivation, interpersonal) 

How do I find volunteer opportunities that match my desired profession? 

That can take a bit of hunting! You can try a few ways:

  • Look on volunteer listing websites, such as Volunteer Hub, Volunteering Auckland or Seek Volunteer and use relevant keywords to search the opportunities (e.g. healthcare, business, environment, museum)
  • Find relevant businesses you would be really keen to be part of and approach them directly to see if you can help them out. 
  • Think about how you could do your job role of choice for different companies e.g. social media / communications for a local charity, small business – or even a student club!
  • If you can’t get direct experience in your professional field without being qualified, think creatively about how you can gain experience with your ‘future client group’ (e.g. youth, elderly, cultural groups, refugees, people in crisis)

How do I make the most of my volunteer position?

Treat it like you would any professional job or internship:

  • Honour your commitments
  • Put in your best effort to your assigned tasks
  • Get to know other volunteers (think of them as colleagues)
  • Look for ways (where appropriate / achievable) to help out other team members
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions OR to put your hand up for additional projects / opportunities.