Do you need to volunteer to get a good graduate job?

  February 13, 2017

If you read any advice on 'top ways to secure a good graduate job' you'll likely find volunteering one of the main points covered. After all volunteering shows you are conscientious, caring and hard-working, so it must be a no-brainer when it comes to boosting your chances of getting a good job, right? Well yes and no; below we explain why it sometimes helps and why it sometimes doesn't.

The Yes Argument

Volunteering certainly looks good on your CV, but in reality it is only likely to set you apart if you are able to demonstrate how the experience can benefit the role you are applying for. If you are seeking a role in healthcare and were able to get a volunteering opportunity in this field, then yes it's going to do you good. Not just in terms of boosting your CV but also in actually developing your knowledge and insight into this industry, so you're not starting on the back-foot like other graduates may be. It's the same with any industry, if the volunteer role is relevant and applicable to your future career aspirations then you'll likely see some benefit, but if it's not, then that brings us on to:

The No Argument

When it comes to volunteering for volunteering's sake then you're not likely to see the positive impact, because let's be frank, virtually every other graduate job seeker would have read the same article as you (or one very similar) and found themselves a part time volunteering role in the hopes of boosting their CV. But because it's not relevant, then it's not likely to do much good. Companies have to use what they view as relevant when choosing candidates, and the fact you volunteered at an animal shelter for a summer, probably isn't going to help when applying for your financial services grad scheme.

However while volunteering is in no way guaranteed to secure you a job, this is certainly not to say it's not worth doing, especially if you are doing it because you genuinely want to. Aside from allowing you to contribute your time to a cause you believe in, which is just an amazing thing to do regardless of what you get out of it, it can also help develop a whole host of important job-related skills. So while volunteering isn't the silver bullet for job hunting, it's always worth doing, but only if you are doing it for the right reasons.