Volunteering in your spare time can boost your career more than doing hours of overtime in the office.
Volunteering is an ideal way to polish your CV, impress potential bosses and learn new life skills.
The news comes ahead of national Volunteers Week, which is celebrating its 30thanniversary. The week (June 1-7) celebrates the contribution made by millions of volunteers and showcases the different ways to get involved.
Louisa Harrison-Walker, Director of Benchmark, said: “Volunteering shows real dedication and is a great way to meet new people, boost your Linked In or networking circle and get references. You can gain experience, maybe in skills you wouldn’t normally have the chance to learn at work. The skills you learn and people you meet can also help you get your foot in the door in competitive industries.
“If you’ve been job hunting for a while, voluntary work can boost your self-esteem and if you’re looking to change your career, it can give you a valuable insight into different vocations.
“There’s also a lot to be said for the feel-good factor as helping others gives you a sense of purpose and social conscience.”
James Caan, from Dragon’s Den, Karren Brady, vice-chairman of West Ham football club, and Martha Lane Fox, founder of Lastminute.com are just some of the country’s top bosses who value volunteering on people’s CVs.
Louisa added there are also benefits for employers who give their staff time off to volunteer. “Giving someone day release once in a while won’t seriously impact on your business but can be a real help to a small charity – many are desperate for people with management, IT, marketing, accountancy, project management, HR, finance and business skills.
“For a company, it can help your corporate social responsibility and when you’re a successful business, it’s nice to give something back to the local community for supporting you.”
Sheffield Volunteer Centre has plenty of vacancies available and also has a section on employee volunteering. There are also perks to volunteering with some organisations – Girl Guiding has a fabulous members’ scheme offering discounts on High Street brands while Festaff recruits hundreds of volunteer stewards who can enjoy music festivals for £15.