It’s a fiercely competitive world out there, particularly when it comes to finding fulfilling employment. Why is that? Jobs these days require 3-5 years experience in the industry before you even start. So how do you get experience to make yourself more employable? Volunteer!
As part of National Volunteer Week, we caught up with three young professionals who explain how volunteering has helped them get a start in their careers.
Scott joined the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee team after completing the Green Army program in 2015. As part of the program, Scott was able to volunteer on his day off to network with environmental professionals to help improve his skills and knowledge.
“Right from the get go everyone always tells you that volunteering is the only way into the environment and conservation field, and it’s very true,” Scott said.
Scott volunteered for 4 months and continued to stay in contact with the people he met through volunteering, which was able to lead to a full time role with Great Ocean Road Coast.
“If you’re willing to put yourself out there at the small expense of time and money, you can really show employers what you’re capable of and your personality which sets you apart from the rest,” he said.
Scott’s tip: “Put yourself out there”
Rachael has volunteered in some capacity for years after her high school teachers kept reitorating the need to ’round-out’ a resume. Rachael has volunteered for her local sporting clubs, for various charities and in professional experience roles to help give herself the competitive edge.
“It’s not easy to get a job fresh out of uni with no experience, and the catch is that no one is willing to give you a job without experience. This is why I have found volunteering to be so important as it has allowed me opportunities to gain valuable skills, contacts and that all important ‘experience’,” she said.
Rachael volunteered at the Great Ocean Road Coast for 10 months as a Communications Officer before landing a part time paid role while she was finishing her studies before joining the team full-time November last year.
“I’ve always found volunteering is a fantastic way to discover a world of opportunities, because whether you volunteer in an area related to your career or something that interests you, you never know who you could meet along the way and what they might be able to offer.”
Rachael’s tip: “Follow up on people’s offers”
Alanah is completing her final year of Bachelor of Environmental Science at Deakin University and is using her volunteer work to help discover the career path she wishes to take, as well as get important hands on experience.
“I’ve always been interested in sustainable biodiversity management, focusing on endangered animals. By volunteering with the conservation team at the Great Ocean Road Coast it has helped clarify the direction I wish to take for my professional pursuits,” she said.
Alanah has volunteered more than 80 hours and says that while it has been tough balancing work, study and volunteering commitments, she is grateful for the learning experience it has offered.
Alanah’s tip: “Get hands on and in the field”
Our Community Engagement Manager David Petty said that volunteering leads to a well-rounded resume and says a lot about the interests and work ethic of a job-seeker. His top tips for applying for a job.
- Have you tried talking to them? Talk to employers, volunteers, people in the industry and network. While social media connections are useful, try calling them or intiating face-to-face meetings wherever possible.
- Make it non-fuss – If you’re seeking a volunteer or employment opportunity, make it as easy for the employer or organisation. Be flexible and always prepare.
- Give them your big news first – put the information that directly relates to the role you’re applying for up the top of your application for employers to see first.
- Take care with presentation – that includes both on paper and in person. The way you lay out your resume and use language all serve to highlight who you are as a person.
- Always keep it succinct – everyone is busy. Give yourself the best chance of getting that opportunity by keeping your resume or application to the point!
Want to start building your resume skills? Volunteers are desperately needed to help care for our coast, so why not get in touch and help us help you! Go to www.gorcc.com.au or call 03 5220 5055.