Careers Service


The benefits of volunteering, where to look for opportunities, and the practical considerations.

Why volunteer?

All types of employers view volunteering as valuable, and in some cases more valuable than paid work. It is worth putting on your CV.

By volunteering you can:

  • gain valuable experience for an area that you would like a career in, for example teaching, PR or social work.
  • test out certain career areas to see if you enjoy them
  • learn new skills - both practical skills and'soft' skills such as communication, time management and problem solving
  • meet new people, make contacts
  • learn more about a cause
  • improve your self-confidence and self-esteem
  • 'give something back' to society

What do organisations look for when they recruit volunteers?

  • Personal qualities – enthusiasm, cheerfulness, patience and understanding
  • Expertise - particular abilities will always be welcomed. Practical or technical skills will be useful for conservation projects. Teaching and advice roles need strong communication skills.
  • You don't always need relevant experience but you may need to commit to undertaking training. This may mean you need to wait for the next training course before you can start volunteering.
  • Affinity – do you share the aims, objectives and values of the organisation?
  • Reliability Although it is not paid work, you are still entering into an agreement with them. Be realistic about how much time you can offer
  • Some organisations may only need you occasionally. Others will look for regular and sustained involvement. You may need to agree a trial period  

For information about volunteers’ rights see the Students’ Association Volunteering Service.

Students’ Association Volunteering


Student stories

Be inspired by Chloe, Liz and Hao Zhang as they talk about their volunteering experiences on Inform.ed, the Careers Service blog.