Volunteering is a great way to gain work related skills and experience. It provides an opportunity to meet new people and network, for job search purposes. Employers look at a person's volunteer experience on a résumé as well, to see what type of a person the interview candidate is. Non-profit agencies are always in need of volunteers and YEC has volunteer opportunities with the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC). For more info click here.
In order to get a good job you must have certain skills to help you get there. Employers look for someone who is trustworthy, hard working, determined, flexible, versatile and easy to get along with. If you have these attributes, you are on your way to securing an ideal job. However, employers only hire the BEST person for the job and you may want to get more work experience before applying. Every job is different and requires specific skills.
One of the best ways to gain work related experience is through volunteering. Simply look for a volunteer organization that offers programs or jobs related to your career field. Volunteer Calgary has an extensive listing of volunteer opportunities in and around Calgary. There are venues all around the city fully run by volunteers. For example, if you are looking to get into childcare or social work, the Big Brothers and Big Sisters societies are always looking for volunteers. All of the shelters in the city, also accept volunteers. Other organizations, such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation, accept volunteers year-long in the form of temporary (canvassing) or full-time (management) roles.
There are other ways to gain experience as well. In high school you can take part in a work experience program credited towards your diploma. With work experience, you will gain skills on the job while attending school. You can also try job shadowing. The amount of time you want to shadow can be determined by the professional you are shadowing. Whether it's a teacher, receptionist, TV reporter, police officer or fire fighter, be flexible about accepting any time they can give you. An internship is a guided work experience, which you may or may not be paid for. You can also look into taking courses through SAIT, Mount Royal College or even through high school; this will give you more hands on experience in a learning environment. Anything you do, to gain extra experience, will always help you in the end; no matter how small it may seem. Your Employment Counselor, or Job Developer at the Youth Employment Centre, can help you find the type of work experience that is right for you.
The more time you spend volunteering, the more you will benefit skill-wise. It is up to you how much time you want to invest. Most organizations are flexible with time commitments because you aren't being paid. They appreciate all the help they receive and recognize volunteers who provide extra help. It is also wise to make a good impression at the volunteer organization, because their representatives can be potential references when you are applying for a job.
Volunteering is a great way to get out into the community and make a social contribution. You will gain valuable skills, meet important people, gain more self esteem and leadership capabilities.
A letter of reference or a contact reference from a supervisor at the organization you volunteer with can go a long way when you are applying for your first job. Volunteering is a good way to flesh out a résumé when you are just starting out.
Anyone with the desire to help others and gain valuable skills can be a volunteer. Some organizations may require potential volunteers to undergo a criminal records check and that they have knowledge of the needs of their clients. While it may seem like you need experience to do anything, volunteer agencies are pretty flexible and usually provide free training if it is required.
Volunteer Calgary is a great place to find volunteer agencies. There are numerous agencies around Calgary always looking for extra help. Churches, cultural centres, homeless shelters, festivals, charities and sports associations are just a few examples.
Do some research and think about the age group you would like to work with (youth, seniors etc.). Think about the type of work you enjoy, for example, would you prefer arts and theatre or counselling? When you have decided who you want to work with and what you want to do, then research the agencies available in this field. Ensure that the organization you volunteer for is one that interests you the most. Though you are a volunteer, you are still an important member of that agency. You may be required to take a course or go to a workshop to qualify for some positions. Volunteering is giving of yourself to others in need and it is a selfless job that should be done because you enjoy helping others.
This organization has a comprehensive listing of volunteer opportunities throughout Calgary. It has links to other volunteer organizations in Calgary and has a listing of the member organizations involved with Volunteer Calgary.
This site provides information about volunteering in Canada and contains links to other volunteer organizations. Check the search engine of this site to find more information about volunteering in Calgary.