Voluntary work: a gateway to a new career – live chat

Volunteering isn’t just about helping others;it can be about helping yourself too. Whether you want to gain skills, make contacts or just experience life in a different sector, volunteering can be a useful door into a new career.

Charities and fundraising organisations rely on a huge army of volunteers who work in all types of roles. In fact, government statistics now suggest that more than 70% of us volunteer at least once a year.

It may conjure up a picture of standing on street corners rattling a tin, but organisations need volunteers to cover almost every specialism you can dream up – from campaigners and social media experts, to education mentors and animal lovers. So whatever job you want to get into, volunteering can always be a helpful boost to your CV.

But finding the right voluntary role can be tricky; and finding the time can be even tougher. Employment law solicitor, Philip Landau, points out that you also need to be careful to choose genuine volunteer roles, rather than exploitative unpaid internships. And even for job hunters who have valuable voluntary experience in the bank, knowing how to impress employers with it can be a whole new challenge in itself.

So, if you’re thinking about using volunteering as a gateway into a new career, but need help along the way, join us on Thursday 4 June from 1–3pm BST for a live chat with the experts. We’ll be discussing:

  • How volunteering can help your career
  • What roles are available
  • How to distinguish genuine voluntary roles from exploitative unpaid internships
  • How to use volunteering to your advantage in job applications

The Q&A takes place in the comments section below this article. Taking part is easier than ever: create a free Guardian account, or log in using your Twitter or Facebook profiles to comment. Alternatively, you can tweet us @GuardianCareers or email your questions to charlotte.seager@theguardian.com who can post them for you.