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Frontier - 7 ways that volunteering abroad will help you impress employers

Date added: Friday 2nd September 2016


There are so many positive reasons to take a gap year and if you make the most of the opportunity there are endless ways in which volunteering abroad can benefit your CV and help you impress future employers! Here are our top seven ways that volunteering abroad during your gap year could give your resume that vital boost it needs to stand out from the crowd…

1. You’ll Gain New Skills

Volunteering abroad is an amazing addition to your CV on its own and including some time spent overseas can also appeal to future employers. Staying for a prolonged period of time in a foreign country requires a certain level of dedication and independence, both traits that are particularly important in the workplace. Working as a volunteer also highlights that you are adaptable, open to other cultures and able to work both as an individual and within a team, points that are worth making on your CV.

2. Have The Chance To Expand Your Network

There are few things more important than a strong network when it comes to chasing a certain job or career path. People who are working in the specific field you’re targeting are people with whom you definitely want to forge strong connections. Even if your volunteer project isn’t directly related to the job you’re going for,  the supervisor, company or project leader that you volunteered with will serve as a useful reference for the work that you completed and the skills you gained while abroad. The people with whom you volunteer are also likely to be in your friends network for many years to come and they are people you may wish to call on or help out in the future.

3. Build On Your Communication Skills

Communication skills are essential in every area of work and if you can easily demonstrate that you have these, you'll make a great first impression with your employer. Volunteering abroad often gives you a chance to communicate with a wide range of people; from other volunteers, to the project staff to locals. Volunteering in a non English speaking country will provide you with the perfect opportunity to learn a new language at the same time as forcing you to interpret cultural gestures, taking the time to listen and demonstrate you have understood as well gettign your own points or messages across.

4. Show you are self-reliant

Few things scream out "I'm ready to do this on my own" like jetting off to a faraway country, immersing yourself in another culture, dealing with a new climate and completing volunteer work abroad. It can be daunting, of course but if you manage to pull off a solo volunteer trip you can rest assured that being self reliant and acting independently when needed are traits that you can confidently claim you have during an interview.

5. Become More Culturally Aware

Cultural awareness is one factor that people often dismiss when it comes to filling in their CV but it is definitely a quality that is worth boasting about. Travellers often remark on how their trip has changed their outlook and how they are now aware of things that they previously had no clue about. These are skills that can be very usefully transferred across into the workplace. Being able to see the bigger picture is incredible important to employers and your ability to see how actions or projects will affect everyone is not something that will go unnoticed by the big bosses.

6. Learn Vital Team Building Skills

While most volunteers head out to their destination alone, many volunteer projects bring together a whole group of people. There are few times in life after university where you will be thrown into a mix of strangers and expected to live with them and get along but in the work place there are plenty of times when you will have to work in a team. When you’re volunteering abroad it’s likely that the group you’re working with will have diverse backgrounds, different native languages and different life experiences. It can be challenging but being able to prove you cope well and adapt to these situations is an invaluable skill to have.

7. Complete Extra Qualifications

Most volunteering companies now run a number of projects within which you can gain extra qualifications, these can vary from teaching qualifications to wildlife conservation diplomas and if there is something that relates well to the career field that you want to go into, incorporating this into your time abroad is a great way to add to your academia without feeling like you’ve gone back to school.

By Shannon Clark – Online Journalism Intern at Frontier

Frontier runs conservation, development, teaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!