How to Make the Most Out of a Volunteer Opportunity

How to Make the Most Out of a Volunteer Opportunity

October 19, 2018 - Hellene Meyer

Why volunteer anyway? Check out our tips on why volunteering is good for the resume!

So, you managed to clinch yourself a volunteer opportunity, or maybe you went to the Lancers Care Volunteer Fair and someone called you back… now what do you do? Are you curious as to how your experiences as a volunteer can work for you? If your answer is yes, the tips below may show you that volunteering isn’t just beneficial to your community, but also you!

Volunteer experience is still experience!

One of the key things to remember is that volunteer experience is still experience! Any volunteer opportunity that lasts more than just a few days can teach valuable skills that you can talk about in your resume. They can also help you build toward employment experience if you are short on paid job experience. Your volunteer position might be relevant to the jobs you’re applying for.

Look at all those skills!

Long-term volunteer opportunities can serve you in developing your skills just as much as a paid position could. After all, you’re still working, but instead of getting paid you are donating your time and labour back to your community.

Networking abounds!

Volunteer opportunities are also an excellent way to broaden your network and potentially find future paid positions. The people you work with may suggest or inform you about other positions, or they may be in contact with people you wouldn’t be able to get in touch with on your own. Never underestimate the value of a strong network, and never miss a chance to make yours bigger.

References, references everywhere!

Along with networking comes the chance to build a valuable bank of references. The people you work with, especially supervisors, can vouch for your employability and work ethic regardless of whether or not you were paid for what you did. References take time and can be hard to come by, so use any opportunity you can to gain more of them, and work hard on maintaining relationships with them.

Showing that you care!

Finally, volunteering shows possible employers that you care about your community and not just about making money. Of course, everyone has to eat and earn a living - but as this is implied whenever you apply for a job, anything you can show that can make you stand out from other candidates is crucial. Volunteering also gives potential employers more of an idea as to who you are as a person and where your interests lie, potentially helping you to fit in with the rest of the team.

Volunteering can be a valuable component in broadening your career options, as well as strengthening your skill base and resume. Alongside this is the fulfillment of helping out and learning more about your local community. If you wish to learn even more about how you can make your volunteer experiences work for you, visit us during our drop-in hours of 10 – 4 pm in Suite 100 of the JEC at the Career Development and Experiential Learning Office.