Do you look at your CV and feel it is a bit thin on activities and experience? Do you wonder how you’re going to show an employer that you’re good at communication or being organised or working in teams, when you don’t have any proof?
Part time work, group work and industry projects are all ways to build your CV; another is volunteering. Giving time to a project, event or charity is a great way to build up skills and start developing networks in a community or group with people from a whole range of different pathways.
A CV that shows you spent xxx hours serving food at the City Mission, or collecting rubbish on a beach with a group or helping with a Girl Guiding event sounds more authentic than saying ‘good at interacting with others’.
What’s more, employers love to see volunteering activities on a CV because it indicates that you are able to juggle different commitments, have shown generosity with your time and have done something beyond study and/or work.
It could be a one off afternoon, a few hours each week or a regular monthly gig. Just think of something that gives you experience in a new organisation, field or activity. You will gain confidence, get easy practice in networking and communicating – and hey – you may even feel real good about yourself for having done something for your community. And there is always the possibility you could have a good time and meet interesting new people!
You don’t have to do this on your own. The AUT Employability Awards - AUT Edge Award and Beyond AUT Award - require students to do a number of volunteering and leadership hours of your choice. Join the award and you can get involved with charities, events and groups with other Edge and Beyond students.
Start with thinking about what you would enjoy doing to help a group or cause because you’ll enjoy it more if you’re doing something you’re strongly interested in, eg conservation, supporting arts or sporting activities, helping kids – indeed - helping anyone. Love clothing? Look at op shops or Dress for Success or Fix Up, Look Sharp. Love the outdoors? Get in touch with one of the many native planting, pest eradication or other conservation organisations. Love kids? Look at Girl Guiding or Scouting or Sunday School activities or cultural classes. Keen to help the homeless? Go to the City Mission or Everybody Eats or Eat My Lunch. Love events? Try Unlimited and Volunteering Auckland.
On campus, your obvious first point is AUTSA, your student association. They’re always keen for help with events and activities. There is also a myriad of student clubs you can get involved with as a volunteer.
But don't confine yourself to AUT. There are great volunteering opportunities off campus too - and they are where you'll get the chance to connect with other people from businesses and industry. For example, Volunteering Auckland is an umbrella organisation used by many charities and other organisations requiring volunteers. SEEK Volunteer is also a great place to sign up for volunteering to help communities and services.
There is also this comprehensive list of other not for profit services and charities that are keen to take on volunteers.
If you’re part of the AUT Edge Award or Beyond AUT, ongoing opportunities are posted on the awards' FB pages.
Come and visit us at the Employability Lab at WA202 or the Student Hubs at North and South Campus to find out more about CVs, job search and the Employability Awards.