One year a volunteer

A year ago I got an email saying my application to be social media volunteer for the Small Charities Coalition had been successful and they would like me to join their team.

A year on and I have learnt so much about the charity, what working in the third sector is like and how to use social media for a charity (as opposed to just using it personally before then).

Every day I see at least one person engage positively with our social media. Knowing that one post may have helped out one of SCC’s members (even if it’s in the tiniest way) is a great feeling.

The role has also proved to be a great talking point on my CV and an asset to my skill set.

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Here are my top tips for students on making sure your volunteer role enhances your career prospects:

Make sure it’s relevant

Those working in or studying PR will know that we cannot get by without social media anymore. Which is why this role is great for me as I know it will enhance my PR skills. Make sure your volunteering role links to what career you’d like in some way.

Keep a balance

Ultimately your university studies come first. Make sure you allocate enough time to your studies and only volunteer in your spare time. Huge thanks goes to SCC here for being so flexible around my uni work!

Find something you love

There’s no one particular charity that I have a strong passion for, but I support a few in different ways. This charity has over 7000 members so it means I can use my skills to help them all – and that’s something that motivates me! Make sure your volunteer role excites you, else it will simply become a chore.

Make the most of it

Volunteering, especially as a student, is not only a huge help to the company or charity, it can make you more employable. Research shows that “41 percent of hiring authorities surveyed by LinkedIn rated volunteer experience equally as important as paid experience.”

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Don’t call yourself just a volunteer

Although yes, you are a volunteer, what do you do? Give yourself a job title – with the charity or company’s permission of course. Are you an administration assistant? Fundraising volunteer? Or social media volunteer? Explain what you do in the title so it looks better on your CV and explains your skills.

Are you a volunteer alongside your studies?

I’d love to hear the work you do and your tips in the comments.

Until next time…

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