5 ways volunteering can help you find a job

National Volunteering Week is celebrated during the second full week of April in Canada to commemorate the contributions of volunteers across Canada. According to the latest Stats Canada report , 24 million Canadians volunteered 2.5 million hours of their time to improve the health, well-being, education and safety of our communities in 2018. 

Volunteering in your community has many benefits for both, the person and the people impacted by the volunteering act. It can help people in need and support worthwhile causes, leading to improved quality of life. For individuals participating, connecting with the right cause can help them feel a sense of achievement, happiness and work with like-minded people leading to positive outcomes.

While you may already be aware of these mutual benefits of volunteering, did you know that it can also help your career? Whether you are working, in the middle of a job search or are a new Canadian, one of the best ways to get new skills and valuable experience is volunteering.  No matter what kind of job you are looking for, working in an altruistic role can enhance your resume!

Here are 5 ways volunteering can help your career.

1) Enhances your resume:

Having a volunteer experience on your resume shows that you are committed to your community and are using your skills, perhaps upskilling as well, and initiative. From an employer perspective, these are desirable qualities. It portrays that you are willing to use your skills for a worthy cause and are committed to it.

When highlighting volunteer experience in your resume, make sure that you include the title of your role, a brief description of your responsibilities, along with examples of your activities, skills and accomplishments. It is also important to relate your volunteer experience to the job you are looking for. For instance, if you are looking for a job in marketing, include how you supported campaigns for the non-profit organization and what kind of results your campaigns generated. It is even better if you could provide measured and quantitative results.

2) Growth in skillset:

Many volunteering positions require you to undergo extensive training as part of the onboarding process. This means not only can you build upon the skills you already posses, but also gain some new ones. Gaining new skills can potentially open new avenues for your job search. You may be able to apply to a different job role than before, as a result of your newly gained skills.

3) Networking:

Networking is a important job tool. About half of Canadian volunteers consider volunteering to be a great way to network or meet people. Research suggests that 80% of professionals find networking essential to their career success, almost 100% believe that face-to-face meetings build stronger long-term relationships.  

Working for a non-profit organization will lead you to meet influential people who are philanthropists, contributors and business leaders. Volunteering side-by-side with such individuals and learning from their ideas and experiences can open your mind to new ideas. You may also be able to get valuable recommendations and references as they are already familiar with your work. One great tip is thinking about how you can be useful to your altruistic community versus how they can help you.

4) Building a professional image:

Making an impact on your community can help you feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. This can translate in improved confidence and make you stand out in room full of jobseekers. Feeling confident about yourself, your skills and your achievements can help you perform better at job interviews.

5) Getting a foot in the door:

One of the things that new Canadians struggle with is finding their first job in Canada. Working with a non-profit organization is one of the best ways to get your foot in door. Volunteering opportunities are a great segue in the Canadian job market.

It helps you understand the skills and competencies valued in Canada, that complement your job experience and qualifications.

Sanjana Samuel, a Marketing and Communications candidate explained, “I've had an incredible journey volunteering with Trailblazers Tandem Cycling Club, a charity that provides recreational cycling to people who have limited or no vision, and the opportunity to cycle with sighted volunteers on tandem cycles. As their PR & Social Media Manager, I undertake all their social media content creation, management and marketing, influencer fundraising partnerships, and media relations." Sanjana further shared, “Working here exposed the significant challenges faced by people with impairments navigating the web, where most sites cater primarily to sighted users. This role equipped me with the skills and knowledge to advocate for features that create a more inclusive digital world. I'm eager to bring these learnings and a heightened sense of empathy to my future endeavors."

If you are wondering still whether volunteering can enhance your chances of finding a job, research has proven that 82 % of direct or indirect hiring decision makers are more likely to choose a candidate with volunteering experience. Thus, having a volunteering experience can positively impact your chances of finding a great role.

How to find a volunteering position:

One of the first things to begin volunteering is identifying a cause you want to work with.

You can either work for a cause you care about or volunteer strategically for something that is related to the full-time role you want. For instance, if you are seeking an office administrator role, look for a volunteer position that encompasses office/administrative tasks. You can then list those while adding the volunteer experience in your resume. Not only does it count as experience, but also gives a glimpse of your skills and abilities to perform in an administrative position to future employers. 

Check with your local community center or library as they may have some volunteer positions. You can also check job sites such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Charity Village etc. for these kind of positions.

If you are already working in a volunteer role and are looking for a permanent, full-time position, reach out to our team of highly skilled recruiting consultants for more information. For nearly half a century, Agilus has served our candidate and employer networks, connecting job seekers with meaningful employment.

Every year we place thousands of job seekers in Technology, Office Professional, Engineering, and Trades/Technical roles. With over 100 recruiting consultants across Canada, we can help you find your next role or find that new career path with interview tools and resume support. For more information about Agilus, please follow us on LinkedInFacebookInstagram and Twitter or check out our current open roles.


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