Many surveyors volunteer their time and expertise in their spare time, whether it’s taking on pro bono clients, helping local charities, or even getting involved in the PTA. It’s a great way to meet new people, gain new experience, and give back to the community.
It also makes you more attractive to hiring managers.
According to LinkedIn, 41% of employers consider volunteer experience to be just as valuable as work experience. This means that all the things you’re doing in your free time can actually help you get a new job.
Here’s a breakdown of why you should include your volunteer experience on your CV:
Whether it's in your field or only tangentially related, volunteering is a great way to learn new skills in a hands-on environment. There are some obviously transferable skills, such as communication or line management, which can be easily acquired in most volunteer roles. These are the kinds of skills young surveyors will want to focus on as they may not get the opportunity to develop them until later on in their career.
In addition, developing niche skills that aren’t directly related to surveying can be useful too. This can include things like event planning or community management. You never know when a particular skill might come in useful, and having practical experience will make you stand out when the time comes.
Employers always want to see that candidates are passionate about surveying, but it can be a difficult trait to demonstrate or quantify. Volunteering is a great way to show that passion. On paper, a candidate with five years of volunteering experience alongside their work experience will look more attractive than one without volunteer experience.
Like passion, initiative is another attribute that can be difficult to show in a CV. Striking out and volunteering for a cause you care about accomplishes this. This is a highly regarded trait by many hiring managers as it shows an ability to work independently and solve problems.
Hiring managers are often wary of gaps in employment. If you do find yourself unemployed for an extended period, at whatever stage of your career, it’s always good to show you were doing something productive with your time. Including your volunteer experience shows that you were staying active and involved. It’s also a great way to network and can even lead to a job in some situations.
Talking point at the interview
Whether you’re just starting out or well into your career, it can be hard to find interesting things to talk about at the job interview. Discussing your volunteer experience can help you stand out amongst the other candidates, as well as giving you a chance to provide non-work examples to answer competency-based questions. For instance, you could talk about the time you arranged a charity fundraiser when asked about a project you’ve managed, even if you’ve never managed a project in your professional career.
Image courtesy of Flickr user ccbarr under the Creative Commons License. The original image has been modified.