Benefits of Volunteering for Engineering Students and Graduates
There are many personal and professional advantages to volunteering opportunities. Here are some key benefits for engineering students and graduates:
Volunteering placements provide the perfect opportunity for prospective engineers to develop their soft skills alongside their technical skills. Communication, team working, presenting, leadership and more are all important skills for any professional setting that can be improved by volunteering. For students, volunteering can help improve confidence and approach to new challenges. For graduates, volunteering can aid in understanding industries and professional settings they may be applying to.
Develop Professional Relationships
Whatever form of volunteering is done and wherever, students and graduates will no doubt meet others with similar interests. Relationships with individuals and businesses can be helpful down the line for expanding your network, getting a job or asking for a reference. To professionally stay in touch with other volunteers, be sure to connect with them on LinkedIn – read our helpful blog on creating the ultimate LinkedIn profile for engineers to get started.
Gain Sense of Pride
Volunteering is a great way to socialise and reduce feelings of stress and loneliness. The rewarding feeling and sense of pride that comes with volunteering can have effects on mental health. As pro bono work is often uncommon or irregular in professional settings, volunteering offers a chance to do something for others.
Through volunteering, students and graduates will be able to do things and explore sectors they may otherwise not have experienced. For example, through volunteering as a mentor, an engineering student may discover a passion for leadership, or while undertaking an international sustainability project, a graduate may decide to specialise in sustainable energy. Volunteering can therefore inform future job choices.
Gain Work Experience
For engineering students and graduates with little industry experience, volunteering can help. Even if you don’t volunteer in an engineering role but instead do fundraising or other opportunities, valuable professional experience will be gained. Spending time in a work environment with professionals can be viable work experience, especially for engineering jobs that require little to no experience.
Aside from personal benefits, volunteering has direct professional advantages too that impress employers. By giving up free time and benefitting local communities, engineering students and graduate volunteers show they are passionate about engineering and have a genuine interest. For aspiring engineers, highlighting passion and interest can be just as valuable to employers as education.
See more: Tips for Aspiring and Ambitious Engineers