Kay Vittee, CEO Quest Staffing Solutions
Over and above the 4.6 million unemployed South Africans looking for work, there are an additional 2.3 million discouraged job seekers. People of working age who have given up on finding a job.
Unemployment is a harsh reality for many people. Often gaining a tertiary education to increase their chances of employment is just not possible from a financial standpoint.
“For those who can’t afford to further their studies, but want an opportunity to grow their skill set, I encourage them to start volunteering at a charitable organisation,” urges Kay Vittee, CEO of Quest Staffing Solutions.
Vittee explains just how volunteering can boost your CV and increase your chances of getting employed.
Volunteering shows that you are proactive.
Proactively going out and doing something instead of waiting around for a job opportunity will be seen in a good light by potential employers, according to Vittee.
“Employers want to know that the people they hire will positively contribute to their business. This means they are looking for people who don’t just do what they are told, but who show initiative and do things of their own accord.”
Volunteering says that you are a team player.
Those who give of their time in service to others clearly have society’s interests at heart.
“This collective concern says to the employer that this is someone who will work in the interests of the business and so, be the type of person who will go above and beyond for the team and not only fulfil the minimum requirements of their job description,” says the CEO.
Volunteering will develop your skills.
Volunteers are required to get involved with the charity’s daily activities which will result in developing a skills set.
“Any skills you gain from volunteering can be put on your CV to show potential employers what you are capable of,” explains Vittee.
“Moreover, your work may even highlight hidden talents that could give you direction in what type of career path to pursue.”
Volunteering will give you experience.
Vittee continues, “A catch 22 that many new job seekers face is that employers are looking for those with experience, but this is difficult to get without first having a job.”
However, she suggests that volunteering can help you to gain that practical experience. “When being interviewed, you will be able to give your interviewee real-life examples of how you handled situations, which will make you a stronger candidate.
Furthermore, you can ask those you work for at the organisation to give you a reference and attest to what type of a worker you are.”
Volunteering causes growth.
“As a volunteer, you will have daily responsibilities and goals to reach. These type of challenges will stretch and mature you. Not only will potential employers be easily able to pick up on this maturity, but they will know that you are able to take on the responsibilities and challenges of the workplace,” states Vittee.
Although volunteering will not provide the job or salary security the unemployed are looking for, it will result in gaining a variety of attributes that can be marketed to potential employers.
“Unemployment is a tough reality for many South Africans, but instead of becoming discouraged, use your free time to help a good cause. Having a daily purpose and making a difference will give you a sense of achievement and can expose you to many other opportunities,” concludes Vittee.