From volunteer work to landing your dream job?
Oprettet den: Wednesday, 26. April 2017 - 10:45 / caf
Maybe you have considered using your spare time as a voluntary visitor for senior citizens, doing volunteer work for Roskilde Festival or being part of a welcoming committee for refugees. On paper it shows drive and human competencies, but how much does it actually matter on your CV when you are looking for a job in Denmark?
If you ask companies like Netcompany, Danfoss and Deloitte in Denmark, education and relevant professional experience counts the most, but unpaid, volunteer work can give you some advantages. It might say something about you as a human being and a colleague, and it can give you professional competencies as well.
Recruitment Consultant at Netcompany, Lise Winther Pedersen, points out that if you have worked as a volunteer in teams and in general have acquired new knowledge while doing your studies, it can offer you relevant experience and thereby help you land a position.
“It can be beneficial for some and give recruiters some insights into a candidate’s interests, but it can never compensate for a lack of education or professional experience inside a given area,” Lise Winther Pedersen points out.
Therefore, there are limitations to how far volunteer work can help you land your dream job.
“It is great to see candidates doing volunteer work, but it does not weigh a lot in the recruitment process,” says Heidi Persson, HR Manager in Deloitte.
At Danfoss on the other hand, they are interested in seeing volunteer work on the CV.
“Volunteer work is a natural element in the overall assessment of a candidate,” says Press Chief at Danfoss, Mikkel Thrane.
Be focused in your volunteer work
Volunteer work should be more focused than working as a bartender during a music festival. If you start exploring volunteer activities in communities inside your professional field, that is when it starts paying off.
“If you have been a mentor for young people and you want to pursue a career inside people management, then it might have an effect in making you a more interesting candidate for companies. It shows determination, energy and a passion for people and that says a lot about the candidate’s attitude towards his or her job,” says Heidi Persson from Deloitte.
Lise Winther Pedersen points out two types of volunteer work that can be relevant in a professional context.
First, it can be directly relevant for your subject area. If you as a developer has done volunteer work as a homework help in mathematics or if you are a project manager and have worked as a mentor.
Second, you can get more indirect, relevant experience through working with tight deadlines, interaction with other people or managing multiple tasks at the same time.
But the fact is, that the specific position at hand is what has the most importance when asking the question whether volunteer work actually makes a difference.
“If you have worked a lot with people, it can be a plus as a consultant, while in a programmer position there is a much larger focus on technical abilities and experience. At the end of the day it is still the job interview that decides the final outcome,” says Netcompany’s Lise Winther Pedersen while adding that in cases of intense competition it can help you to getting an interview.
Heidi Persson points out that it is different from HR consultant to HR consultant whether voluntary work counts in the evaluation of the candidate.
All three companies do agree, though, that being successful in the hunt for a new job depends on education, relevant experience and, especially, the performance during the job interview.