Youth Month: How volunteering can boost your CV

In celebration of Youth Month, South Africa’s largest volunteering platform, shares how volunteering presents an opportunity to build your portfolio and develop marketable skills. Whether you’re fresh out of school, working a part-time job, or still studying, volunteering for a good cause can give your CV a much-needed boost. While these are not employment opportunities, they can help you gain work experience and set yourself apart from other applicants – here’s how.

“Volunteering is a great way to learn critical workplace skills and give back at the same time. You’ll be working alongside industry professionals and building social capital that can help you stand out to potential employers. For matriculants and graduates who are just entering the workforce, it’s also a chance to try out different roles, before committing to a career path,” says Romy Heldsinger, CEO at forgood.

The forgood platform allows individuals to find hundreds of skills-based volunteering opportunities online. Causes registered on the site are listed according to location and categories of interest – everyone and anyone can find something they are passionate about. You can also post an offer of a specific skill, which is distributed to causes registered on the site.

“In many cases, young people are aware of their talents and strengths – be that coding, design, writing or top marks in accounting, but they have yet to find opportunities to demonstrate them. Through volunteering, you’ll be able to build a portfolio work, which can set you apart from other candidates with similar qualifications when entering a first job or junior position,” says Heldsinger.

Heldsinger shares some of her top tips for those looking to boost their CVs with volunteering experience:

  1. Volunteer with intention: Look for opportunities that present a learning and growing curve, in line with your career interests and passions. Volunteering in your chosen career path also gives you the platform to widen your network by connecting with professionals in that particular industry, who may present employment opportunities further down the line.
  2. Find something that is meaningful for both you and the cause: You are much more of an asset to an organisation if you volunteer for a role that you find engaging and enjoyable. This could include reception work, tutoring, proposal writing, language translation, design work, social media, marketing, fundraising, administration, or data capturing – the possibilities are endless.
  3. Feature your activities on your LinkedIn profile: The site reports that 41% of employers consider volunteer work to be as important as paid work. It also makes you a more interesting and diverse candidate.