Thinking of volunteering? Here’s why it’s a smart move

By Teboho Polanka

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

As you know, job adverts have some level of experience required. For those who are new graduates, getting to be employed becomes quite a hassle. It’s true for all those with no proven work experience.

For the employer to bring you into his crew will either prove to be an investment or a risk. Which explains a lot about why they are quite strict about recruiting the best people into their business entities.

I know for some the idea of volunteering has once or twice crossed their minds, but the idea of no pay has often times been a terribly distasteful thing. But guess what, you may want to rethink the idea of volunteering, especially following this discussion.

My first volunteering experience

I remember while contemplating on the idea of volunteering with Lesotho Mission in Semonkong, it wasn’t just the idea of the way of life in the rural settings that posed challenges to me but the issue of no pay also paid its toll on me.

I give it to you working in Semonkong was new for me. I’d have to leave behind all that was familiar to me. But finally I gave in and went on anyway. Tell you what, the first few days weren’t that bad. People were hospitable and what we were to do was not that complicated, it seemed.

But when my colleagues, who were themselves employed, got their pay and I received nothing, it meant something. Frustration would set in, but I obtained something that goes way beyond the pay; I obtained experience that would later help me be a candidate sought after by employers.

Volunteering with other organizations

Immediately after working with Lesotho Mission I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to volunteer with Mosepele Foundation Development Forum (MFDF). Remember I still had no pay.

I was able to join the seminars and workshops most of which we obtained certificates. These certificates then became proof of my expertise and added value to my CV, increasing my chances of getting the job of my dreams.

I volunteered with PISA in Botha-Bothe and I was and still am receiving a lot of exposure to more opportunities which I would otherwise not see if I hadn’t volunteered.

Even more exciting, I’m a freelance writer with Selibeng.com and it was here that I got to explore the talent which I never knew I had up until this point. The idea of me being a writer would seem perplexing, but given the chance in this platform I now know that I can write.

Challenges and what to expect

Did I mention to you that in all these volunteering chances there were significant challenges at one point or another? I would be lying to you if I said there aren’t any.

In some cases your colleagues might take advantage of you and give over most of their undertakings to you while they take leisure times. I mean you might end up doing a lot more than what you’d initially thought of. But guess what, it’s worth it if you’re serious about gaining exposure into the real world.

You’ll find out later that such challenges will help build up your character as a future employee. Some challenges are inevitable. Everyone knows that we all have personal needs which volunteering might not seem to meet.

Conclusion

I don’t want to trick you into thinking that by mere volunteering you’ll get your dream job, rather I’d say while you are volunteering do your best and remember even though it might seem like nobody is watching, someone is always watching.

Looking back I wouldn’t be the person I am today with the broader network I now have if I hadn’t volunteered my time, energy and skill. Pay or no pay, it was and still is worth it. So let’s get you volunteering.

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