How online volunteering can help jobseekers upskill
7 September 2020 at 8:00 am
We take a look at the benefits of virtual volunteering for jobseekers stuck at home during COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has put thousands of Australians out of work and forced many – particularly in Victoria – to stay mostly confined to their own home.
While finding jobs can be tough in this environment, one option for jobseekers is to make the most of their time through virtual volunteering.
We spoke to Matthew Boyd, the founder of online volunteering marketplace Vollie, about the benefits of virtual volunteering for jobseekers.
One of the great things about volunteering online is the convenience of it.
People simply need to find the role they are looking for, and then they can do it from the comfort of their own home.
“It can be done from anywhere. We’ve been banging the drum about online volunteering for the last four years, but obviously there’s an even greater opportunity now we’re in a forced situation where people are stuck at home or restricted,” Boyd said.
“So it’s the convenience of being able to work on an online volunteering project from anywhere and around your busy schedule.”
- Boost your skillset
Boyd said particularly for those studying at university, volunteering can offer an added dimension to your experience level that complements traditional internships.
“When you consider online volunteering projects versus your typical internship or work experience, you can have a lot more responsibility from volunteering with a charity,” he said.
“You can be working on a project, whether it’s developing a marketing plan or building a website, that involves taking on a huge amount of responsibility and that looks good on your CV.”
He added that there were also benefits to be gained from networking during these opportunities.
“Being able to build professional networks which can go towards your next career step could be really powerful because typically you’re communicating with the CEO or senior leaders of these charities and not for profits,” Boyd said.
“And that’s great. You can work on a project, they’ll absolutely love you and then when a job comes up in three months time, they’ll want you back.”
- It shows moral character
Not only does volunteering boost your skillset, it also shows employers what kind of person you are.
As Boyd notes, it makes you seem a more rounded person when compared with people who only intern or work at big private companies.
“It says a lot about who a person is. [It looks good] if you can say … you wanted to work on [a particular project, using your skills] because the organisation stands up for an issue you care about, such as the environment,” he said.
“I think it highlights the passions that people have and not just the skills they possess.”
- It offers a morale boost
Finally, Boyd said online volunteering can lift people’s spirits during a time of unprecedented chaos and loneliness.
He said he had already seen the personal wellbeing benefits that people of all ages have experienced using Vollie during this crisis.
“The level of empathy we’re seeing in COVID is so heartwarming because people may be bored at home, they may have had their hours cut or they may have actually just completely lost their job,” he said.
“But people’s appetite to make a difference is so strong, they really care. And the personal benefits of that are real, particularly when you work on a project that aligns with your skillset and what you really care about.
“You do see a decrease in stress levels, and an increase in happiness levels. People sleep better and feel more fulfilled.”