As a graduate from a professional program, fresh out of a year-long intensive internship, I knew exactly what I wanted for my career.
Unfortunately for me, it seemed impossible to break into the workforce, especially one in a new city. Resume after resume, interview after interview, I got the same message: “we’ve hired someone internally,” or “we need someone with more experience.”
I felt like I was stuck in a catch 22: I didn’t have the experience to land at the top of the pile, but I wasn’t sure how to get hired to get the experience that would get me there. So what is a young professional to do?
For myself, I have been offered multiple positions with little to no interviewing through the organization that I volunteered for, and have developed a wealth of knowledge about my specific industry.
Volunteering is like Networking 2.0: there is so much more to gain than just feeling good & giving back to your community (although that is definitely a nice aspect as well).
Here are 5 great benefits to being a volunteer:
1. Gain Experience
Some companies, welcome new grads as volunteers, who sign up for a few shifts a month or to help with an event. It’s a great way to add to your resume, and your humanitarian side is appealing to hiring managers.
2. Learn About Your Industry
Working with a company can teach you a lot about your industry, such as: relevant legislative, industry regulations, other companies in the field, and the way various roles fit together within a company. It’s a great way to parlay your school experience to the real world to see the big picture for your career.
3. Develop Relationships
Volunteering gives you the chance to be a part of a company, meet managers, people who work in HR and community partners. Making an effort to connect with people, to ask about their role and talk about your interests as well.
4. Inside Access
Being part of a company can get you access to internal postings before they hit the job boards and training opportunities. And with your good relationship with hiring managers and the HR department, your resume will move up to the top of the “Yes” pile.
5. Build Positivity
When you’ve been looking for work for a while, it can be hard to get out of the house, and your self-confidence can really take a hit. Volunteering taps into our altruistic selves, helping us feel good about giving back, as well as keeping us connected to the professional realm. Everyone wins!
Volunteering is a great way to open doors for your career.
You gain experience, develop your professional network, and can really grow your resume by giving back. Even if you don’t end up working for the company you volunteer for, you can be surprised by the opportunities that will come your way and the amazing experience that you will gain.
If you are interested in finding volunteer opportunities, you can check out your alumni association, your local library community board, or if you are in the Toronto area, check out www.volunteertoronto.ca.
Make the most of your volunteering gig.
Here are a few more great tips: