European Youth Portal
Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.

Sense and sensibility

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Employers more and more favourably treat candidates whose CVs feature volunteering. Why? Because this is a proof that they are guided not only by mind, but also follow their hearts.

School, studies, work… But how to find a job? Unemployment among young people is very high. So how to become employed? To many volunteering proves to be a ticket to a dream job. Although you will provide non-paid services, it is very profitable, because it adds to your CV!


Decent, honest, reliable


Why? ‘When I see that someone has been committed to organising events, helping the poor or the disabled, this person is the right candidate for me’, said Lech Pilecki, President of the Podlasie Business Club in an interview for Czas Białegostoku. He believes that participating in voluntary service is a prove that a potential candidate, apart from hard skills, such as holding a degree, completing various additional courses and being fluent in languages, has something that is important to the boss. And this is a heart for other people. The most successful businessmen are altruists. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have made not only big money, but also a lot of good for the less well-off. An employer who is an altruist will see a kindred spirit in a former  or present volunteer. And it is always easier to get on with someone like you.


And one more thing is important here: the fact that you have been building a school in Uganda, working on a modernisation of a medieval abbey in Italy or planting trees in Portugal proves that you have a hierarchy of values and you are a decent, honest and reliable person. And this is the best recommendation for each businessman. In an office or institution it is extremely important that you can trust your colleagues. This is why Lech Pilecki stated that he would instantly employ a volunteer, and so would his fellow businessmen.


You will be awarded a certificate


Recruitment specialists admit that volunteering experience is helpful in finding a job, but not as much as it could be. This problem has been discerned by EU officials who have established

Youthpass. The certificate describing the skills acquired during voluntary service is awarded to all volunteers. There is much more to Youthpass then just mere grades or confirmation of attendance. It is a detailed document including personal details, general description of the programme and basic information about the project and activities of the volunteer. The description of key competences including:  communication in the mother tongue and in foreign languages, mathematical competences and basic competences in science and technology, digital competence, social and civic competences, learning to learn, sense of initiative and entrepreneurship, and cultural awareness and expression, is also very important here. So upon your return, you obtain a reliable and unique document confirming who you are and what you can do. According to data published by CBOS (Public Opinion Research Centre), over the past year, only 16% of Poles were committed to volunteering. Having said that, your job application will be really unique and you can successfully compete against your peers with standard CVs of recent graduates with no experience.


A treasure trove!


How to use your volunteering experience when looking for a job? In your tailor-made CV and cover letter, you should emphasise similarity of your experiences with the needs of the prospective employer. Are they looking for people with good communication skills? Mention that during the project you managed a group of volunteers representing different cultures, countries and religions - it was tough, but you managed. Do they need a creative person? When working on the construction of a school in Africa you learnt how to do something out of nothing in the world where basic resources were scarce. Rack your brain, volunteering is a treasure trove, all you have to do is to make others notice that.

Published: Thu, 08/01/2015 - 12:07

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