Volunteering: So much more than a line on the CV

For most young people, whether applying for university, internships, or jobs, there is constantP1020828 (2) pressure to have the best CV/UCAS form possible. Most understand that with the extreme competitiveness for places it is essential that you make yourself stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately this has created a compulsory mentality towards volunteering as merely doing something “for the CV.” Volunteering can become a chore or a requirement, only going to putting them off in the future. It also creates a mind set of putting in the least amount of effort and time possible to getting the line on the CV/UCAS form.

There are so many other benefits from volunteering that it doesn’t need to be this way. These do not wear off once the CV is as good as it can get or after you’ve got into your university of choice. These benefits create a lasting commitment to helping others, and shape enthusiatic and outgoing people. Thankfully, the Jewish community is in a position to utilise these benefits.

Hasmo volunteering!Young people may not be able to offer money to charities and voluntary organisations, but what they can offer is enthusiasm, energy and creativity. These can be just as important for Jewish charities. Youth movements, care providers and awareness raising organisations all need people’s time and effort to make them effective. The Jewish community can boast some of the finest examples in the country of each of these types of organisations, all of whom are reliant on volunteers.

The volunteering mentality needs to be ingrained, but not enforced, when people are young. From my experience, the majority of those who continue to participate and volunteer in the community at university and beyond are those who have been volunteering and giving their time beforehand. Most are beyond the point where this work can boost their CV. Having been part of two youth movements, led many camps and generally being extremely involved with the community, I personally have no more space for voluntary work on my CV, as much of it overlaps, using up valuable space.

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Cheders and Jewish schools can take a huge role in making volunteering part of young Jews’ lives. The majority of Jewish children attend one or the other. Committing a day or more away from studying to go out and doing something creative and positive for the community will create bonds that will last a lifetime, especially if volunteering can be promoted as being something special and fun. It is also an essential part of Judaism, and so cannot be said to be a distraction from the curriculum. It would additionally give students leadership opportunities from a young age. Whilst this is undoubtedly good for the CV/UCAS form, its benefits go far beyond these temporary necessities. Leadership and the willingness to go out of your comfort zone are qualities that last a lifetime. They are also things that can only be gained through experience, which many people never get.

Jewish people have the opportunity to improve themselves, their community and the wider world through volunteering. It has to be understood that volunteering is so much more than a CV filler.

Adam Charlton is currently interning at the JVN, working on the organisation’s public relations. Please contact intern@jvn.org.uk.

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Categories: Guest Blog, Volunteering, Volunteering Issues

Author:Mike

Hi, I'm Mike, JVN's Youth Co-ordinator and blogger. I'll be blogging about all sorts of issues affecting the volunteering community, with a particular focus on how recent developments might affect the UK Jewish community's volunteers. I'm always interested to read the comments you make. If you have something you want to see in the JVN blog, e-mail me at mike@jvn.org.uk and I'll be happy to talk. And if you're inspired by any of my blogs to volunteer, log on to www.jvn.org.uk and register to find your perfect volunteering opportunity.

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