Volunteering and Career Development

Volunteering: Pathway Towards Career Development

Volunteering is not only a great way to give back to the community and make a difference but also an effective way to develop in terms of career. Volunteering comes with numerous advantages and some of these advantages related to career development are summarized below:

  1. Skills development and improvement: volunteering is an effective way to develop new skills and improve on existing ones. Skills such as communication, teamwork, interpersonal, leadership are be greatly developed and improved during volunteering. Continuous improvements in these skills will also help in building the confidence required to ace presentations and interviews.
  2. Gain work experience: most fresh graduates have challenges of getting job positions after graduation due to a lack of work experience. However, volunteering is a great way to gain work experience as you can show the employer that you can contribute significantly to a working environment. This can also be used to fill gaps in resume especially for recent graduates still looking for jobs.
  3. Discover your strengths and weakness: Volunteering is a good way to assess yourself and evaluate what your strengths and weaknesses are when you work alone and in a team in a professional setting. This evaluation is critical to career development as you will know which areas to improve on, and how you can maximize your strength in different situations in a professional setting and outside of it.
  4. Expand professional network: Volunteering is a great way to meet people from a variety of disciplines and have a deep understanding of various ways people deal with and provide solutions. These professional networks can help with getting information about job openings, internships, training, networking events, etc. Also, people and organizations you work with during your volunteering activities are valuable resources when looking for references for jobs and graduate school applications.
  5. Tackle challenges: While several skills can be gained during volunteering, volunteering opens various ways of using these skills while developing new ones to solve various challenges. Volunteers will be able to solve various challenges the community or organization they volunteer with so that they can achieve their goals. The ability to solve various challenges will equip them with skills and resources that can be relied on while working or in graduate school. 
  6. Receive recognition: volunteering carried out on campus can receive recognition in the form of a co-curricular record (CCR), and this can make you stand out when applying for jobs and graduate school. This record provides recognition for students about their involvement in activities outside of the classroom and the corresponding skills gain. Recognition off campus can come in the form of recommendation and thank you letters. 
  7. Improve resume and cover letters: Details about the skills used and work experience gained during volunteering can be used to populate and improve the quality of your resume and cover letters for job applications. Also, this information can be developed to enhance the quality of your statements and essays when applying for graduate school. 
  8. Effective interview: during an interview; various behavioural and situational questions will be asked and having a good experience goes a long way in answering these types of questions effectively. Therefore, volunteering equips you with answering various questions effectively and giving relatable examples when answering the interviewer’s questions such as those related to the skills you have and how you’ve used them in the past.
  9. Make a difference: volunteering is also a great way to support a cause and make a difference in a community or organization. For example, there exist various non-profit organizations on and off campus that support causes such as mental health, science, literacy, sustainability, etc. in which you can volunteer for. Volunteering for these organizations not only aid their development and impact but also creates an avenue for you to contribute significantly to a cause

Feel free to check the University’s website for more information about the volunteering opportunities available on campus. Students can also explore the VIP-Community Service Learning where they can volunteer using specific discipline knowledge to solve problems in the community.

Drop-in on weekdays between 10 am to 4 pm at the Career Development and Experiential Learning (CDEL) center to discuss with a career peer advisor about more tips and resources available for career development.