How volunteering can benefit your career

Getting involved with causes you care about has more positive outcomes than you might expect
University of Calgary students volunteer at Habitat for Humanity as part of the ucalgarycares BSD Day of Service, an alternative to the traditional Bermuda Shorts Day celebration.
University of Calgary students volunteer at Habitat for Humanity

For most students, the time you spend in university is crucial for expanding your knowledge through your studies and research, exploring your interests and meeting new people. Besides attending classes, another great way to accomplish this is by getting involved and volunteering. As a volunteer, you’re not only helping others but improving a wide set of personal skills and building valuable experience for the future. Read on below to learn why you should get involved.

Beef up your resume

Don’t have much work experience yet? Volunteer positions and extra-curricular involvement are fantastic items to put on your resume. In fact, your responsibilities as a volunteer might be similar to those of a job, like organizing projects, mentoring others, communicating with people and much more.

If you take on volunteer and extra-curricular opportunities on campus, you can even showcase your involvement to employers with the Co-Curricular Record.

Get familiar with the job application and interview process

Depending on the role, you may have to complete an application or take part in an interview before volunteering. This is a great way to get some practice for a future job interview scenario. Some positions may also require you to complete a security screening process, including driving history and police background checks.

Explore your interests further

Whatever you’re into, there’s probably a volunteer or extracurricular opportunity for it. Getting involved with an organization is a terrific way to explore these interests and get a better understanding of a particular occupation or industry. It’s also an excellent way to get to know the people, challenges, and rewards involved and better understand the available roles and jobs. Who knows — you might even uncover a new career path you never considered before!

Practice and develop hands-on skills

Lending a hand in your community helps you develop the skills you have and might even teach you new ones. For example, if you’re interested in music, photography, video or writing, volunteering with CJSW, NUTV or The Gauntlet can give you hands-on experience that you can list on your resume.

Volunteering can also improve your interpersonal, leadership, communication and time-management skills. These are all very important items you can highlight on your resume, especially when you lack prior work experience.

Build your network of peers

Through volunteerism, you can meet and make friends with people from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. In addition to making new connections, your new peers can recommend new volunteer or employment opportunities, and even serve as useful references when applying for a paid job or post-secondary program.

Gain confidence in yourself

Trying something new can boost your confidence and give you a sense of achievement. Volunteering can sometimes involve you taking on many different responsibilities, all of which give you experiences that you can learn and grow from. Some roles can even help you practice professionalism and build your confidence in the workplace. Contributing to a cause you are passionate about helps you feel like you're part of something bigger and have a unique set of skills to offer.

If you want to find some amazing volunteer opportunities on-campus and around Calgary, be sure to attend Career Services’ Volunteer Fair on March 10 from 1 to 4 p.m. Learn how you can use volunteering to leverage your job search and resume, and meet organizations that are currently seeking volunteers!

Not sure what your next step is for your career? Career Services can help you with career planning, building your professional skills and finding work you'll love.