Written by Guest blogger
This is a guest blog by Alex Cox, currently in her final year studying BSc (Hons) Marketing
The class of 2020 are probably facing the biggest challenge since the 2008 recession. The impact of COVID-19 has cancelled graduate schemes and stalled recruitment for many companies. Like many recent graduates, I have struggled to secure a permanent position upon finishing my studies. In the meantime, however, I have been volunteering with a non-profit project that connects students and recent graduates with charities and causes needing some support.
In July, my time at BU officially came to an end, I was elated with my results and was so pleased that all the hard work had paid off, despite a set of really challenging circumstances. However, being back at home in my childhood bedroom submitting dozens of applications a week with little to no response, wasn’t exactly the graduate high I’d been expecting…
Initially, I felt quite despondent about the situation, I was lacking focus and structure until a friend told me about a new project she was working on and asked if I would like to get involved.
For the past three months, I have been volunteering with Studenteer, an organisation which encourages students and graduates to use their free time to make a positive change for an array of charities or causes in need of voluntary support. Students and recent graduates are connected with non-profits, providing valuable work placements, mentoring, and a sense of purpose to those that are struggling with the break in employment or study. They offer placements according to your skillset and career interests in things like website development, graphic design, content marketing and social media.
I have joined the internal team of students and graduates and have been helping to develop the project by getting involved with their marketing and PR. I would like to have a career in this field in the future and working with Studenteer has helped me to gain confidence in skills and develop new ones. To date, I have been involved in a press outreach strategy and learnt SEO and WordPress which are really useful to add to my CV.
It’s also given me the structure and routine that I have desperately craved, I have something to get up for everyday and can fit in applying for permanent positions in-between volunteering. It realistically might take me a little longer to find a graduate role but by volunteering I am still maintaining focus and I have something current to talk about in interviews.
There are a whole host of volunteering opportunities available online, that have only increased since the start of the pandemic. UK charities are struggling, facing a £10 billion funding gap over the next six months as a result of COVID-19. The surge in remote working has opened up new opportunities for assisting good causes and you can find many of these listed online.
As well as making you feel good, volunteering can be great for networking as you never know when a paid position may become available. Plus, employers are 80 percent more likely to offer jobs to applicants with voluntary experience, so if you’re struggling to find a graduate role, it’s something worth considering.
If there is one thing that COVID-19 has taught me so far, it’s the importance of being resilient. My graduation plans may not have worked out but I’m hopeful something even better will come along in the future.