Volunteering your time and skills isn’t just a way to give back to the community and your favourite causes. It’s also a great way to build experience, network and develop your talents. While there are lots of places you can volunteer with, ranging from libraries, schools and hospitals, to non-profits and charity events, they all provide the same extra benefits.
When you’re just starting on the career path, filling your resume can feel overwhelming. However, finding a place where you are needed is a good way to demonstrate your commitment and work ethic. For example if you’re doing accounting training, taking on the role of treasurer for a fund raiser is valid and useful proof of your abilities.
All the skills you are learning are equally applicable in a volunteer setting as in a paid one. Volunteering has the additional advantage that it can be a “choose your own internship”, where your entirely self-motivated work allows you to decide where you want to apply your skills. If you know that employers are looking for a particular thing, you can specifically seek out just that kind of experience in a supportive environment.
In today’s job market, it never hurts to reach out. Volunteering is a great way of meeting people who are caring and supportive, and a good first step to get some references or grow your connections so you can hear about possible job leads. The people you volunteer with will remember you as a caring and hardworking individual. It’s also a good way to meet people in the industry you want to break into. Companies often have favourite charities, so for example, volunteering at an event at a hotel you want to work for is a good compliment to your hotel management training, as you’ll be able to meet and interact with the staff and management.
Developing Your Talents
At Academy of Learning College Alberta, we already emphasize getting hands-on experience, and volunteering is one of the best ways to find just that. Helping out in a retirement community or a group home will put your healthcare assistant courses to work, as well as giving you and extra chance to find out if the work is a good fit for you. After all, learning by doing is the best way to make yourself into an expert.
How has volunteering helped you?