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What skills can volunteer work give me?

It depends to a great degree on the kind of work you do, but whatever that is it will always provide a set of core skills that will be invaluable in the future. Practically all volunteer work requires you to develop the central skills of team-working, communication and relationship-building, all of which are necessities in the job market. Demonstrating that you’ve developed these skills in the volunteer sector will strongly increase your appeal to prospective employers.

Beyond these core skills, volunteering can also provide the opportunity to develop strong skills and experience in a huge range of specific areas. Depending on the area you’re working in, you can pick up skills in anything from administration, IT, public relations, running projects, fund-raising, campaigning, writing and dealing with the public to gardening, catering and driving, plus many more. All these skills will boost your chances on the jobs market.

If you’re unemployed, volunteer work can also help you to get out and about, meeting people and being active at a time when it can be all too easy to sit at home doing not much at all. You never know - the people you’re meeting and working with might have contacts who are offering the kind of paid work you’re looking for. You could even find that you have a particular talent for the skills you’re using in your volunteer work. And that could help change your career direction completely and set you off on a whole new series of challenges.