Lacking experience? Volunteer!
by Asha Siad
Grades (check), great attitude (check), reliability (check) — but something seems to be missing on that job application. It’s something simple, rewarding and interesting, and you can choose from a variety of opportunities or match it to your field of study. It’s volunteer work, and it can give you the experience you need for that dream job and also set you apart from your competition.
“University students have a great desire to make the world around them a better place, and volunteering is a great way to do that,” said Karen Franco, communications director for Volunteer Calgary. “It is a wonderful way to experience new work environments.
Franco said that some of the key things university students should look for in volunteering are ways to expand their experiences, which can help them add to their resumes when it is time to apply for jobs.
“Students are really doing themselves a lot of favours by seeking out (volunteer) opportunities that not only allow them to engage in the community and give back, but also have the added benefit of giving them some additional hands-on skills.”
With over 600 volunteer positions currently available, Volunteer Calgary’s online database — volunteercalgary.ab.ca — is a good place to start finding organizations that are in need of volunteers.
It is not the only place to look for volunteer work. Franco said that you might also want pick up the phone and reach out to an organization that you feel strongly about and ask to volunteer.
After committing your time and skills to your volunteer work, Franco said do not be afraid to ask for a letter of reference or whether you can include a volunteer manager’s name and phone number in your employment search.
“What better way to impress a potential employer than to show them that even while your seeking employment or you’re going to school, you’re engaged in the community around you, you’re making a difference and you’re doing things other than just looking for work.”