What can Volunteering offer you?

Volunteering can offer you invaluable experience, networking opportunities and can really enhance your job prospects!

The information offered here is designed to help you gain the most from your volunteering, whether that be through interview preparation, improving your CV or opening up new career possibilities that you might never have considered.

ALIVE Certificate for Volunteering

Get Certified! The NUI Galway Presidential Award for Volunteering is the ALIVE Certificate.

The ALIVE Certificate has two aims.

First and foremost, we want to reward all the time and effort students put into societies, sports clubs, campaigns, committees, volunteering, community engagement, Mentoring, Class Reps, student radio, and everything else that isn't degree-related, all your extra-curricular activities.

Secondly, employers note that students have a lot of fantastic experience but don't know how to talk about it in interviews and application forms. So, NUI Galway has developed the ALIVE Certificate for Volunteering. This is your chance to tell us what you have been doing, and get the recognition you deserve!


To apply students must complete the application form which is a series of questions about your volunteering. Its easy! Log in at our dedicated Award website, complete the application form and click submit. You can save your application, return and edit it and manage your volunteering portfolio.

Enter your student id and password to login to your application, direct link to our Award website: www.yourspace.nuigalway.ie

St Angela's College Sligo and Shannon College of Hotel Management students please apply through our online form here.

To Qualify:

You need to be an active volunteer for at least one semester to qualify for your Certificate. All kinds of volunteering are recognised by the Certificate. You may have volunteered in Galway, in your hometown or internationally. You may have volunteered on campus through clubs, class reps, student radio or newspaper, societies, or mentoring a first year student or off campus with a school, charity or hospital. All volunteering is recognised!

Also, see our FAQ's on how to apply for the ALIVE Certificate.

Alive Awards 2016:

Transferable Skills from Volunteering

There is a range of transferable skills you can gain from volunteering. Here are some skills that volunteering can help you build and develop for employment and further study.

Participation in most ALIVE Volunteering opportunities involves working with others. As a result of volunteering you can easily identify examples of where you have motivated others in your team using encouragement and motivation skills.

Communication is often one of the most important skills an employer is seeking. ALIVE volunteering opportunities will help you develop this skill - particularly projects such as mentoring in schools and tutoring. You will be able to identify examples of how you see communication as being an important skill, and how you have been able to prioritise and recognise what information needs to be passed to others.

If you are considering a career in a customer-focused profession, such as advertising, marketing or sales, then experience working in a charity shop or community centres would be invaluable in developing your ability to interact with customers.

Simply by taking part in one of ALIVE's volunteering opportunities you are demonstrating a level of motivation! Employers are looking for people who show evidence of enthusiasm, an ability to make their own decisions and, more importantly, to have confidence in themselves. Involvement in a volunteering project will give you some valuable evidence of all these areas.

Employers like people who can "bring them solutions, not problems". If you have been involved in a voluntary project that has required you to make decisions and think for yourself, then you could well have more valuable evidence of your ability to apply your past experience, solve problems and deal with difficult situations.

It is also important that you develop the skills of prioritising and managing the time you have available to devote to projects. Through involvement in ALIVE Volunteering opportunities you will be able to strengthen these skills. You will also have to learn to balance your time and energy between course work and voluntary work. Time management skills and the ability to deal effectively with multiple tasks can be developed considerably through participation in both the training and projects we offer.

Take your skills development to the next level

Visit the NUI Galway's Career Development Centre click here
Visit the ALIVE Leadership page to deepen your volunteering experience.

Careers in the NGO sector

Ever thought about a career in the charitable, voluntary or non-governmental sector? Working in this dynamic sector is hugely rewarding and diverse roles means you can travel the world, make an impact and be creative.

Here are a few websites with career information and job advertisements across the sector:

In Ireland: www.activelink.ie

In the US: www.idealist.org

In the UK: http://jobs.thirdsector.co.uk/

Why not build your own charity or social enterprise?

NUI Galway Enterprise Awards - Social Category

Social Enterprise Network in Ireland

Ashoka Ireland

Social Entrepreneurship Ireland

Volunteering & your CV

It is vital to list your volunteering on your CV. You can also gain a referee for your CV through your volunteering.

Including your volunteering on your CV is easy! You can list your volunteering in a "Skills Profile", with your "Work & Voluntary Experience" or as an "Achievement". List not only the activity itself but also the evidence. For example:

Check out these resources on the importance of volunteering and achieving the ALIVE Certificate for your CV and how to articulate your volunteer skills on your CV.

Get your Digital Badge!

NUI Galway has developed the Digital Badge for your ALIVE Presidential award!

It is a tool that you can post on your online resumé or CV at Linkedin. Here are some great links to learn more.

About Digital Badages and even more about Digital Badges.

A guide to using Digital Badges.

What is the Diploma Supplement?

The Diploma Supplement is awarded to you at Graduation

The Presidential Award, the ALIVE Certificate is now on your Diploma Supplement. Special thanks to the Student Projects Fund for funding this initiave.

More information on the supplement is available here.

Awards & programmes to gain experience

Why not apply for local, national and international volunteer awards or programmes! ALIVE nominates student volunteers annually, or you can nominate a friend.

Across Europe, people can apply for the Europass Certificate to recognise their volunteering. It's easy to fill in the form online and add it to your CV today!

Galway City Mayor Awards for Volunteers

Volunteer Ireland - Ireland Involved Awards

Gaisce - The President's Award Gaisce is the challenge presented to all young people by the President of Ireland

USI - Union of Students of Ireland Student Achievement Awards

NUI Galway Awards

On campus activities are celebrated at annual events. Apply for Societies and Clubs Awards.

Societies Awards

Clubs Awards

SU Awards

Interview questions & your volunteering

The following questions are taken directly from real life job interviews. Practice answering these questions with examples from your volunteering.

In summary

In this section we covered: