Did you know that 65% of employers say that communication skills are more valuable than a university degree? Now think about how valuable you’ll be with both a university degree and excellent communication skills.
Don’t have any communication skills on your CV? No problem – you can always volunteer!
Volunteering opens up a world of opportunities when you’re an eager-eyed university student looking for ways to make yourself more employable. Not only do you get the chance to meet new people and give back to the local community, but if you step out your comfort zone and try something new, you’ll find yourself with a new skill to add to your CV.
Fancy making beehives with the Bee Society? Teaching with N.E.S.T? Or maybe you’re more interested in gardening with The Roof Garden Project?
Whatever you choose to do, you can guarantee you’ll pick up some key employability skills, including communication. As the saying goes, communication is key. It’s the most fundamental transferable skill you need to survive life as a university graduate, no matter what industry you want to work in. While something as simple as communication doesn’t really sound like a skill, it can be the difference between you and someone else getting that dream graduate job.
Communication is more than just a simple exchange of words; communication needs to be effective, purposeful and meaningful. And you need to be able to prove that you can do all three. Here are some ways volunteering can help you achieve that:
Talking to other people
The most simple, but the most necessary. You meet loads of new people when you volunteer and you have to be able to build a rapport with other volunteers. If you’re not a natural social butterfly, volunteering is the perfect way to make meaningful connections with new people.
This sounds like a skill that you don’t need to learn, but actually it’s surprising how many people have their head in the clouds when someone is talking to them. To be an effective communicator, you need to listen to what other volunteers are saying, understand what you’re being asked to do and clarify any details you’re unsure of.
You might find yourself in a situation volunteering with people who think differently than you do. You have to be open to understanding other people’s perspective and avoid communicating in a way that makes you unapproachable.
Adapting your message
If you’re volunteering with vulnerable people, children or people who are non-native English speakers, you need to be able to adjust the way you communicate. Knowing how to phrase the same message in a different way, whether that’s through vocabulary, body language or tone, is a highly desirable communication skill.
If you choose to become more involved in a volunteering project, you might find yourself hosting events and writing social media posts to persuade more people to get involved. Knowing how to capture people’s attention through creative events and interesting Facebook posts will make you stand out to employers.
What do you have to lose? Start volunteering and develop your communicate skills. Check out available volunteering opportunities here.