Our volunteer Emma Devine explains how her role with Deafblind UK helped get her started in her marketing career…
I have been volunteering for Deafblind UK’s marketing team since late 2018, an opportunity I was granted through my university. My friend had been writing for them for some time and she told me it was really interesting, so I gave it a go and loved it. The first piece I wrote for Open Hand was about the accessibility of TV and streaming services for those within the deafblind community. It was so interesting to research areas of life that most people take for granted, and see how these can be adapted for those with additional needs.
Embarrassingly, I actually didn’t even mention my work for Deafblind UK on my CV for about a year after I started; I saw it as more of a hobby than volunteer work. It wasn’t until I had an appointment with an agency during the dreaded graduate job hunt (in the middle of the pandemic!) that I was advised that it was a great thing to show off – and they were right! In every job interview I have had since, employers have commented on it and reacted positively.
Nowadays, many workplaces have a set of core beliefs or values and, more often than not, these touch on accessibility. Volunteering for a charity who helps people with disabilities, and especially writing research articles, allows me to demonstrate an awareness of the importance of accessibility and inclusivity in the workplace.
Surprisingly, almost every employer also asks “Deafblind UK? What’s that?” or sometimes even, “What does deafblind even mean?”, which is a great opportunity to educate them and spread awareness; they usually find this interesting or impressive, as it provides a talking point and gives an opportunity to show off what an educated volunteer you are!
In my experience, I think it definitely helps that I am so passionate about my work for Deafblind UK and having employers touch on it gives me an opportunity to convey this passion and even demonstrate some of my personality (as I am quite enthusiastic!).
If you’re thinking of volunteering, I would highly recommend going for something that interests you – I didn’t even really register that I was doing copywriting or anything to do with marketing when I first started, I just wanted to write and I enjoyed researching different topics.
However recently, when I started to think about marketing as a career, I made sure my volunteer work at Deafblind UK had a prominent place on my CV and I’m pleased to report that I’m now working as at a great marketing agency – today, I was even referred to as a “copywriting expert”!