Volunteer work and extracurricular activities

Secure volunteer work while you study

Volunteering provides the opportunity to contribute to the community and build the skills employers value while studying. 

What is volunteer work?

Volunteering is unpaid work, generally with not-for-profit or community-based organisations both in Australia and overseas. Volunteer roles can also be positions of responsibility within clubs and societies, many of which can be found on campus, and they can be related to either personal or professional interests and goals.

male artist volunteer work

What are the benefits of volunteer work?

Graduate employers prefer to hire 'well-rounded' graduates. This means they look for graduates who have not just performed well academically, but have engaged in a variety of activities other than their studies. Volunteering gives you the chance to:

  • gain valuable experience and put your skills to work in a field related to your studies
  • develop your employability skills
  • develop contacts and networks in a field relevant to your career goals
  • make a contribution to society in accordance with your personal values
  • help your resume stand out from the crowd.

How to choose a volunteer role

To find volunteering roles, you can either search within a specific cause, sector or organisation, or use your networks to create opportunities. For example, if you are a member of a sporting club you could volunteer to create a newsletter for members or assist them with their bookkeeping.

When looking for volunteer work, search for a role and a cause that you feel passionate about. You should do your research and consider the following questions:

  • What does the organisation do and what does it stand for? Think about whether it is somewhere that you would like to volunteer. Look at their website, previous projects or annual reports, and read their vision and mission statements to find out more about them.
  • What types of opportunities are available? Is there something that matches your interests? Is there an opportunity to gain skills and experience related to your degree? Or can you explore future career options?
  • How much supervision, support and training is provided to volunteers?
  • Does the organisation have adequate insurance for volunteers? Do they have appropriate policies in place?
  • How much time are you able to or willing to commit to volunteering? Are you looking for a position that is long-term or short-term? Will it be a continuing obligation or just a one-off involvement? Make sure you can balance your studies, volunteering, work and social commitments.

Other extracurricular activities

Extracurricular activities are any activities you engage in outside of your studies, such as sporting, public speaking, special interest groups, the arts, political, educational, environmental, community or cultural activities.

Why and how should I get involved?

Employers love to see extracurricular activities on your resume. Graduate employment application forms often ask for details of extracurricular activity, and involvement in extracurricular activity can demonstrate highly sought-after skills such as initiative, drive, leadership, teamwork, communication and interpersonal skills.

Extracurricular activities provide valuable networking opportunities, so get involved with one or more of the many clubs and societies on campus. Clubs and societies welcome new members and participants. All it usually takes is a visit, an email or a phone call. You can also search online for any area of personal or professional interest, such as, ‘Chess Clubs’ and ‘Toastmasters’.