How volunteering abroad can improve your CV

Written by  //  November 27, 2012  //  Travel  //  14 Comments


There are many fantastic reasons to volunteer abroad. The primary motivation amongst many volunteers is to give something back and positively contribute to disadvantaged communities. However, volunteering also provides many benefits to your own personal and career development.

Boosting Your CV

Volunteering abroad is an interesting addition to your CV, making it stand out from thousands of otherwise similar applicants. The experience can boost your CV by demonstrating the many personal skills that are involved in living and working abroad. Moving to a different country requires a certain amount of dedication and independence which are skills valued by any employer. The experience suggests that you will be able to work on your own initiative and are likely to be adaptable in a new work environment.
Volunteer abroad programs can also provide you with much needed experience to put on your CV. Many students fresh out of university have little of the relevant experience required to successfully gain a suitable job. Volunteering abroad often provides volunteers with more freedom and responsibility than would be afforded a similarly qualified candidate in the UK. For example, if you are teaching English in Zambia, you will be given the freedom to make your own lesson plans and conduct your own lessons. This experience is particularly valuable if you are looking to enter the education profession when back at home in the UK. It is also valuable experience for those looking to partake in a role that requires public speaking where delivering training and presentations is required.

Securing a Job

There are many things you can do whilst on a volunteering placement to increase your chances of securing a job on your return. You may want to spend some time attending language classes of the country you are volunteering in. Many companies are eager to employ candidates who are able to speak another language and this skill is another way of setting you apart from the competition.
Try to find opportunities to take a leadership role whilst volunteering abroad. This doesn't have to be an official title or role, but can simply be taking a lead role for one day. For example, if you are working at an orphanage you could take the initiative and organise team sports for one afternoon a week. This will be appreciated by the children and will provide evidence of your leadership skills for your CV.
When choosing your volunteer placement, check that it allows you to develop the skills you may need for the future. If you are looking to develop your ability to work in a team, ensure that you select a volunteer placement working with a wide range of individuals from different backgrounds. Look for a placement that best uses your existing skills and education. If you have a degree in engineering, consider looking at projects improving local infrastructure. This can allow you to gain valuable experience and contribute your existing skills and education to the project.
Kevin Martin is a travel writer based in the UK. He regularly contributes to a wide range of websites and blogs and has travelled throughout the world. Kevin has volunteered for many organisations in the past, in countries such as Zambia, Tanzania and Thailand.


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