Volunteering can be challenging – but it helps you find out about skills you might have never thought you had before. Megan Nee, consultant at Futureboard, says: “Apart from being important on a social and world level, volunteering can help you answer competency questions in job interviews.”
According to Futureboard’s Kiera McDaid, who has been volunteering for more than five years, it’s important to have an element of philantrophy in your CV. She says: “Volunteering has made me more comfortable in dealing with and speaking to a wide range of ages. My communications skills are now more adaptable and I’m confident I can make people relax in a conversation, which is something you definitely bring back to your work environment.”
Kiera adds: “Volunteering shows good communications, it helps you build rapport with people, which is essential both at work and in job interviews.”
However, Kiera warns that there’s no point in volunteering just for the sake of boosting your CV: “I’ve met many young people who can’t explain why they volunteer, and that shows you’re only doing it to improve your CV and that you have no real reason behind it.”
Management student Charles-Édouard van de Put went to Africa through student organisation AIESEC’s YES (Young EntrepreneurShip) project to teach entrepreneurship to local children.
While living in Africa for three months he had to face a number of challenges: different backgrounds, language and knowledge barriers. During his time there, Charles-Édouard helped the college teachers to draw a plan to start their own free school, which will be aimed at helping illiterate children in their hometown.
During his exchange, Charles-Édouard made some “friends for life” and learnt new things about Tanzanian and East African culture. Charles-Édouard says: “Overall, it was a terrific experience, but the power and water cuts were not always welcome…”
Charles-Édouard says what made him most proud was when, during the final lesson, one of the students gave him a business card from a company he had just set up. He says: “I also discovered a lot of things about teaching, how hard and gratifying it is.”
Futureboard’s Kiera McDaid says: “It’s all down to what skills you have to offer: as a Psychology student, I’ve held some assertiveness and self-esteem workshop. It’s all a matter of putting what you know into good use, and I’ve always enjoyed helping people out, especially those aged 13 to 19.”
For pictures and to read more about Charles-Édouard’s experience, click here.