Q&A: How volunteering can get you your dream job

By Fanni Barocsi

At the Canadian Red Cross, we see some wonderful benefits to volunteering on a daily basis. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people, gain new experiences and contribute to your community. One more awesome benefit to volunteering is that it could help you land your dream job.

We interviewed Darlene Burns, our Volunteer Experience and Engagement Manager, here at the Darlene BurnsCanadian Red Cross for her insights on how volunteering can help you land the job you’ve always wanted. Darlene has well over 10 years of experience working in HR prior to her current position.

How can volunteering help your career?

Well, it looks great on your resume. It shows initiative and that you’re looking to build new skills. It gives you the opportunity to get references which is very helpful, especially if you are new to the job market. You also meet very interesting people with diverse backgrounds. These new connections could give you a leg up when looking for employment opportunities.

What does it mean to your future employer if you have volunteer experience?

Volunteering speaks to how you want to learn new things and shows that you have varied interests. For example, even if you don’t work in emergency management, volunteering in this area could help you build the necessary skills to eventually work in this area. For an interviewer, it illustrates that you are willing to do many different things, be diverse in your skills, and that you work well in a team.

How does it help build your resume?

Volunteering gives you a different set of skills and shows what interests you have outside of work. It also demonstrates that you have commitment and compassion. Highlighting this experience helps the hiring manager get to know you.  

What new skills can you develop by volunteering?

A lot of volunteering involves working in a team in different capacities including leadership roles. Learning how to work in a team is a crucial skill that many employers are looking for. Becoming a volunteer can also expose you to a lot of great training opportunities that you might not otherwise get the opportunity to complete.
Canadian Red Cross Volunteers

Why is volunteer experience valued so highly?

A lot of organizations are looking for individuals who volunteer and want their staff to continue to volunteer after they have been employed. Therefore, already having this experience might align easily with the organization and its values. It also shows that you are interested in giving back to your community and helping others.

What specific type of volunteer experience is helpful?

Honestly, any type of volunteer experience is very helpful. If you’re looking for work, actively going out and volunteering shows that you have drive and determination. My best advice is to find a volunteering opportunity that aligns with your career goals, get as much experience as you can and make lifelong connections.

Volunteer with us today! Build memories, friendships and your resume!

Related Stories:

Want to volunteer? Here’s how (and why you should)!
What type of volunteer are you?
Life with purpose: volunteering opens new doors

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