Voluntary Internships and Volunteer Work

Voluntary Internships and Volunteer Work

by Jenny Burr
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Your graduation day has come and gone. Ideally, finding work in your main area of study is what most hope to achieve. For some recent grads, work is immediately obtained but for many others this is not the case.

What do you do in the meantime?

What you spend your time doing or not doing is important. When you are in a job interview, the person interviewing you will want to know what you were doing since the time of your graduation. Telling him or her that you have not been doing anything is not going to make you a very appealing candidate. Instead, if you are able to show that you have been furthering your learning by taking classes, working elsewhere and volunteering, you will be more likely considered for a position because of your initiative.

The benefits of volunteering for an unpaid internship

Gaining experience, learning new skills, trying out new roles and responsibilities and making connections (also known as networking) are some of the many benefits you will gain from volunteering your time as an intern. Most businesses, small companies, start-ups, charities, not-for-profits and institutions appreciate individuals who are willing to volunteer their time.

Gaining experience
You have the “book smarts” and some practical experience due to your school assignments. Now, as an intern, the real test is putting it into practice in a work setting. Then when you are asked on a job application or during an interview if you have any experience, you will be able to indicate that you do because of your internship.

Learning new skills
There is always something to be learned. It may take a couple of weeks or more to learn how your supervisor would like a task to be completed, but once you learn it you are ready to move on to the next set of tasks. In learning new skills, you are gathering more information and experience to add to your resume, portfolio or CV.

Roles and responsibilities
Does your volunteer internship require you to be part of a team, work independently or as a leader? Any and all of these roles and the responsibility you have in them are vital. Be certain that you include them on your resume. You may also be given the opportunity to discuss them during an interview.

Networking is connecting with people. Who you know and who they know may just be the way that you obtain a job. When you take the time to meet people, discuss your interests, listen to their interests, give out your name and contact information, and receive similar information from others, you are networking. This can be done in a variety of settings – from a talk that you attend to an informal gathering of people, in a class that you may be taking or a community meeting you may be attending.

Volunteering for an unpaid internship is a way to keep active and busy while you look into your career choices. The experience you obtain, the new skills you learn, the roles and responsibilities you have, the connections you make and the networking you do can present options that you may not have considered. The link below to an article in the Globe and Mail may assist you as you volunteer and search for work. Good luck and have fun!


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