15 skills you learn by Volunteering

Volunteer for skill building
Volunteer for skill building

Freshers who pass out of professional colleges and others face the proverbial chicken-and-egg-problem. It is the for the first time they are evaluated on parameters other than academic excellence. All their life, students entirely focus on excelling in studies, learning the technique of how to write exams and performing well in them.
After they pass out, they are tested on a different scale. Along with their academic performance, they are evaluated on their personality, their attitude, their aptitude, their ability to apply skills and knowledge that they have learnt in the classroom.
Those looking to hire best talent, look for some kind of experience in the resume. Any experience, even if it is not related to one’s choice of academic path, is relevant and enhances the profile of the freshers.

Those volunteering learn a host of skills which prove to be invaluable when starting a career.
Check out the list of skills that you learn while volunteering.

1.People skills
When you volunteer, you come in touch with many strangers. They come from various backgrounds with different personalities, different areas like finance, engineering, education. Dealing with them, working alongside them, you learn some very valuable skills which no one can teach or learn from textbooks. They can only be picked up on the job.

2.Problem solving
It is only when you are handling any type of work that you understand what a problem is and why you need to solve it. At work places, almost every day you face challenges and need solutions. And solutions need to be found within the available constraints and resources. Even if you are not given the responsibility of challenging assignments,  you learn a lot by observing others.

We study, socialize, entertain within our comfort zone as we grow up. We don’t interact with frequently with those outside our circles, either socially or professionally. But when you start working, you need to adapt to variables like people, work places, job profiles and so on. The ability to adapt quickly to changing situations can decide how far you can go in your career. If you are adaptable, you are willing to take on challenging tasks, if not you would avoid it.

4.Time Management
Today’s humans have a lot more to do in the same 24 hours. With the advent of internet, mobile telephony, television, the choices are virtually limitless. Balancing work and other activities, setting aside time to upgrade yourself continuously so that you get more done in the same time available to all. While you studying, a lot is handled by your parents as you focus on studies and tackling entrance exams.

5.Self Management
As mentioned before, students learn to focus on studying and preparing for exams by attending coaching classes and tuition. Parents take care of other aspects of life. Volunteering teaches all how to manage your own self, the tasks you are assigned to, resources that are needed to finish those tasks successfully. You become responsible for what you are supposed to do; your mom or teacher/lecturer is not going to follow up.

6.Applying skills and knowledge
The ability to apply the concepts and fundamentals learnt while in school and college is one of the most valuable skills needed for a successful career. This skill can be enhanced with experience and by observing others as they are working.

There are only 24 hours in a day and too many things to do — for fun, for learning, for entertainment and so on. How does one balance all this demands on time and still manage to focus on the most critical tasks? As your handle many activities, you learn to prioritize tasks, time and focus. You learn how to plan a day that is productive.

8.Communicating effectively
The nature of jobs and the tasks you handle while working have changed. Technology enables us to communicate across physical boundaries. It also offers tremendous opportunities on how you work and where you work. These opportunities also necessitate a different basket of skills. The ability to communicate, both spoken and written, is critical. You need to know the language along with its grammar, its nuance, how to customize your communication across cultures. It involves a high degree of investment in learning, practising, keeping up-to-date as a language continuously evolves. 

In most schools and colleges, along with teaching there is a high degree of emphasis on academic evaluation. Students are trained to strive for excellence. What this means that students do not share their study techniques or any practice that helps in doing well. However, when they start working, they need to work in teams. The success of the work allotted to the team depends on how the whole team bonds and works on tasks. Some exposure to how to work in a team when you are studying is a worthwhile investment.

Professionalism is knowing how to behave in a work place. The atmosphere and ambiance is different in work places from that in educational institutions. Though there are many consultants who train you in being professional, if you learn about what is professionalism, the chances are you will be ahead of your competition in getting better opportunities. Professionalism is closely linked to better opportunities, promotions and other perks. Treating colleagues with respect, keeping a commitment made, helping a team when necessary are some of the aspects of professionalism.

11.Work ethics
Work places are usually highly competitive. There is always a race to get ahead. However, keeping certain values and  morals while trying to do well is work ethics. Cheating, betraying, plagiarism, taking credit for what others have done, indulging in harmful gossip are some of choices that all employees have. Those who ignore these values for faster success tend to forget that your reputation is made by what your colleagues and managers think about it. Taking short cuts may get you ahead in the short term but causes harm in the long term as your reputation follows you.

12.Workplace etiquette
These are how one conducts oneself. Learning names of people and how they prefer to be addressed is go a long way. You can upset and irritate a lot of people if you don’t this etiquette. Try to remain focused on your work instead of judging job profiles of colleagues or their pay packet. Volunteering also teaches you how to respect personal space of others and how to respect their privacy. Being discreet about sharing of personal information is another valuable skill you learn when getting some experience. If you are having problems either with your work or getting along with others in the office, introspect some. Assess yourself, ask for feedback. The ability to accept criticism helps in preventing major issues that affect your work.

Any work experience gives you confidence. It happens because when you are actually handling various tasks, whether they are successful or failures, you learn your strengths and weaknesses. That helps you identify the job profiles in which you will do well. This insight helps you plan your career based on actual experience and feedback. Volunteering helps you become aware of this aspect. Confidence prepares you to handle challenging goals, helps you deal with failures and an objectivity to evaluate yourself.

14.Follow instructions
It may be a surprise for many, but the ability to follow instructions and raising alerts when the instructions can’t be followed is a vital skill, especially for freshers. It takes lot of effort and money for organizations to train fresh recruits. They may not always have time to explain the process and why you need to do it a particular way. organizations have limited patience with those who choose to be adventurous at work places.

15. Networking
Volunteering provides you with an opportunity for networking. You can meet a range of people who have a range of skills. Networking helps you keep in touch with what is happening at the workplace in general and a specific organization in particular. Networking provides all the information needed to be successful in your career — the trends in technology, new developments that affect your career positively or adversely, pitfalls to avoid etc. Networking also helps you tap the job market which is not advertised. As a fresher, it allows you to interact with professionals in your area of interest, after experience you get offers through the network. This makes it easy to navigate the career path successfully.


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