My time volunteering at Jigsaw has proven to be the most valuable experience, both in helping me to secure my first job, and also giving me skills and confidence that has allowed me to grow as a person. I now feel very capable of working within a lively office environment, taking charge of new and unfamiliar tasks, and completing them effectively.
How Jigsaw has helped me
I have developed a whole new variety of skills, as well as improving on skills I already possessed. I faced new challenges on a regular basis, and this helped me to quickly organise myself and prioritise the work I was given, an essential skill in any field of work. Often I was trusted with tasks to complete without any supervision, and this has enabled me to work on using my initiative and independence. Perhaps one of the biggest ways Jigsaw has helped me is to get over my fear of using the telephone! By being given a phone-based task immediately, although daunting, forced me to conquer my fears and now I am confident in answering the phone and conversing with others.
What I have learned
I have learned how to plan, organise and prioritise a typical work load, and how to incorporate unexpected tasks. I also got to learn how to use new IT software, and having even just some experience of using Harlequin and mailchimp has given me a greater knowledge in computer programmes. I have also learned the best way to appeal to potential donors, through creating letters, posters and marketing questionnaires. By being given the opportunity to attend events has allowed me to speak confidently and express to others, possible sponsors or similar charity workers, the importance of Jigsaw and the best way to pinpoint the benefits of their work. I would also like to say that I have learned how to improve my parallel parking skills outside of the office!
There are too many positives to possibly list on this report. The greatest positive I can say is that all members of staff and volunteers are dedicated, friendly and very approachable. I have been treated with respect and have felt very comfortable in communicating with each individual. Another good thing is the variety of the work I received. Each task I was given responsibility for I tried to complete to the highest standard possible. I personally felt that being left responsible for certain tasks allowed me to rely on my own initiative, which has helped to reassure myself of my own capabilities. To be trusted with such important work has enhanced this feeling. At the same time the support I received from fellow workers vastly helped me complete work and generally made the experience more enjoyable. I think the meetings between myself and Ginny to recap on tasks still to be done and progress made were very valuable, as it gave us both a clear picture of where we were and where we needed to progress to. This level of communication was very useful, and felt it meant we had a better working relationship.
The only thing I can really comment on for improvement would be perhaps a stronger filing system for myself, as completed tasks tended to be amongst the unfinished. Other than that I have no issues with anything that I have been doing at Jigsaw.
How this experience helped me get my ideal job
The skills that I have gained whilst at Jigsaw can be transferred to many positions in many industries. These skills gave me the confidence to promote my abilities and experience during interview, and I could relate these to the position I was applying for. I believe I was originally selected for interview because of my CV, on which Jigsaw appeared heavily. Not only does my CV mention my volunteering at Jigsaw, but it has also enabled me to enlarge my skills section, showing just how much I now have to offer to an employer. It also proved a very popular topic within the interview, as they were interested both in what Jigsaw did as a charity, and also my role there and how I could answer their questions by relating it to my own experience at the charity. I was able to demonstrate that my weaknesses prior to my voluntary work had gotten stronger and I had managed to build on them to make them more positive. The experience I have gained at Jigsaw has adapted me as a person, and prepared me for the working world. I believe it has enhanced my desire to work, and this was shown through my interview. I could easily demonstrate situations in which I have used and developed skills that were applicable to the industry, through the work I have undertaken recently. My entire time here has been beneficial and highly enjoyable, and I am very appreciative of the opportunity I was given and the support I received during my time at Jigsaw.