1 June, 2021

Read about her career journey and how she became a Volunteer Coordinator at Extern

Why is what you do important?

The volunteers, who I help to recruit and induct into Extern, join teams of staff who provide life-changing services. Volunteers can play a huge part, for example by completing befriending phone calls to one of our clients. A volunteer can make someone’s day or week by providing that essential social contact which we all need.

How has Covid-19 impacted your business/role?

As a result of Covid-19 we unfortunately had to put a hold on almost all volunteers engaged within our services in order to limit numbers in our premises, and many services had to switch to remote delivery.
My role during this time was to help undertake a broad review of our volunteering programme and plan for the time when we could reengage volunteers safely.

What adjustments have you had to make?

Existing volunteers had to be stood down for their safety, which was really unfortunate. With some restrictions still in place, we had to review our volunteer programme and assess which roles could still be offered safely.
We have seen a real increase in our clients being even more isolated than normal, so our main focus is currently on recruiting for a Volunteer Telephone Befriender role. A friendly phone call from a volunteer can really go a long way towards reducing someone’s social isolation.

What advice would you give anyone looking to follow a similar career path?

Be open to expanding into different sectors and departments. At times I thought I wouldn’t be able to crossover from hospitality into another sector, but I have been surprised at how my skills and experience have transferred into volunteer management.

If you weren’t doing this what would you like to do?

I considered going back to university to complete a master’s degree in Translation, so I might have liked to be a translator.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to yourself on your first day?

To be patient. It can be very overwhelming when you start a new job and I wanted to know everything straight away but skills and knowledge develop overtime.

Describe your ideal day off.

Taking the dog for a long walk on the beach, grabbing coffee or lunch out, and having a few drinks with friends at a comedy night or a pub quiz.

And finally, what’s the key to any successful job search?

Read the essential criteria and reference it in your application. It wasn’t until I was carrying out recruitment I realised how vital it is to clearly explain how you meet all of the essential criteria.
Don’t assume the recruiter knows what your previous jobs involved. Your application could be amazing but if you don’t clearly reference the essential criteria you won’t get shortlisted for interview.

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