Voluntary work for work experience

Group of people doing voluntary work

If you’re short on work experience, voluntary work is a great way to build up your CV and show prospective employers what you’re capable of. You can do voluntary work across many different sectors, from charity work to helping out with large events like the Olympic games.

Voluntary work provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate both hard and soft skills, and most people find it a rewarding experience. There are many organisations that can help you find voluntary work vacancies in your area.

Popular websites for voluntary work:

  • WorldWide Volunteering (WWV) is a non-profit making organisation whose aim is to make it easier for people of all ages to volunteer. They provide instant access to information on the widest range of volunteering opportunities throughout the UK and worldwide.
  • Do-it is a website run by a charity YouthNet. With their partners in volunteer centres and voluntary organisations across the country, they make sure that those who want to volunteer can do so quickly and easily. Every 45 seconds someone in the UK finds a volunteering opportunity thanks to Do-it.
  • Volunteering England is an independent charity and membership organisation, committed to supporting, enabling and celebrating volunteering in all its diversity. Their work links policy, research, innovation, good practice and programme management in the involvement of volunteers.
  • DirectGov provides more information, contacts and volunteering case studies.

More places include: Volunteering Matters (young, older and disabled volunteers), VSO (overseas placements), the local Volunteer Centre website, Reach (volunteers with specific skills), Volunteering Wales and Volunteer Scotland

Additional places that young people can find volunteer opportunities include the National Citizen Service website (16 – 17 year olds in England or Wales, 15 – 16 year olds in Northern Ireland), and the International Citizen Service website (18 – 25 year olds who want to volunteer abroad).

Voluntary work skills:

All voluntary work opportunities allow you to build skills that are directly transferable to your future job roles and valued by employers – for example:

  • Punctuality & reliability
  • Communication skills (I have presented at school and sporting functions and have received strong feedback from my teachers)
  • Willingness to learn
  • Numeracy skills / cash handling skills
  • Teamwork
  • Accuracy & attention to detail
  • A responsible attitude

There is a good list of soft skills on our guide on ‘how to write a CV‘.  You’ll also find a list of hard skills on the right hand side of the page – more for your CV that you might not have thought of.