Companies are looking for more than just your qualifications and experience before they hire you. Latest research and trends suggest that interviewers ask for specific examples of when interviewees have ‘worked with a team to overcome a challenge’ or ‘thought outside-the-box to solve a problem’. These competency-based questions may be tough to answer without experience in the ‘real’ world. But, as it turns out, volunteering helps in this area as well. Here’s how:
Emotional Intelligence (EI)
Social responsibility is one of the highest levels of emotional experience. It demonstrates that you really care about others, especially those less fortunate. The most effective components of social responsibility involve you personally contributing to a worthwhile cause. Something as simple as spending a few hours at the local shelter to share your life learnings –with underprivileged students- can go a long way in learning how to manage someone else’s emotions and expectations. A handy skill when you’re managing your team at work too.
Volunteering work often involves raising awareness and reaching out – convincing audiences of how much your programme or cause will benefit their lives. When you are made responsible for disseminating information, a lot depends on your communication skills. Communication ceases to be a simple task of just ‘talking’ when you’re volunteering – it becomes a means to effect change. You learn to keep a track of non-verbal cues, you learn to become a story-teller as you narrate experiences in the field.
When you are responsible for a task, a lot depends on you. You learn your own potential and learn to be reliable. Imagine being responsible for a blood donation camp. Not only do you learn how to best conduct the camp, you interact with a lot of people and get to understand their views. Some you agree with and some you don’t. But your ‘takeaway’ from being part of such an activity will be learning to be flexible. You will learn to effectively balance emotions and the difference between being assertive and aggressive. With volunteering, you learn to be flexible and accommodate differing viewpoints, both very important skills when working in teams.
Self-Motivation and Decisiveness
Motivating oneself to create an environment for success is an essential skill to develop in the corporate world. Volunteering helps you learn to fight your internal demons and come out strong.
Volunteering lets you go through real-life situations wherein your decisions matter. You learn to weigh every aspect of the pros and cons in front of you before you decide a way forward. Volunteering gives you a taste of the corporate decision-making process and allows you to learn how to deal with the consequences of your decisions.
Teamwork doesn’t only involve ‘working in teams without hitches’ it involves celebrating success – of the team and the individuals; it involves regrouping after a failure and not playing the ‘blame game’ and it involves accommodating all viewpoints to achieve what the team has set out to achieve.
Volunteering gives you the first taste of teamwork beyond school and college projects. It allows you to fine tune all your edges to become a perfect fit into any team. You learn how to resolve conflicts and negotiate when you’re volunteering in teams, and the environment makes it more conducive for feedback.
Time Management and Ability to Work under Pressure
Another important feature of corporate life is your ability to work under pressure and under strict deadlines. Volunteering gives you an excellent opportunity to understand and practice this very important skill. After all, you need to decide what you need to do and when to complete your projects on time.
Master these intangible skills with Tata Volunteering Week. #TVW7 #TataEngage #ChaseitChangeit