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Open a world of opportunity for your career by volunteering

Test-drive a new career or industry by volunteering your time

Maybe there’s an industry or a particular employer you’re especially interested in pursuing. Perhaps there isn’t a full-time paid position available at this moment, but there could be an alternative way to get your foot in the door: volunteering.

Some job seekers find volunteering is a helpful way not only to “test drive” a particular career or industry, but it’s also provides valuable experience which can be highlighted on a resume. As the winter months tend to be slower for some job seekers, this might be the ideal time to try some volunteering.

Jennifer Westra is the team leader at Agilec’s Innisfil office. For those who can volunteer their time, she highly recommends using this strategy to build out your resume and put yourself on an employer’s radar.

Although an employer may not have a position available today, volunteering may set you up for success with a potential opening down the road.

“Volunteering is a two-way street,” Westra said. “One thing we see with volunteering is it gives the individual an accurate picture of the day in the life of the place they want to work. We’ve had a lot of people flourish when they do volunteer work because they love what they’re doing.”

These scenarios are highly beneficial for both the employer and the individual. For the individual, they get a glimpse into the everyday work environment. And for the employer, they get a sense of the type of worker they’re getting for any future consideration.

Some folks might be leery of volunteering because they may see it as an indefinite position, but volunteering can be ongoing, or it can be event-based or for just a few months. Even a short-term volunteer position counts as experience for your resume.

At the very least, you can use this volunteer position as related work experience towards your field of choice. Experience is experience, even if it is unpaid. In some cases, this might actually work strongly in your favour, as employers tend to view volunteers as driven individuals.

“It also shows motivation to an employer that this person was ready, willing and able to dedicate themselves to this type of work,” Westra said. “Whether to learn something, or to just work in this industry, and they weren’t paid for it. So, I’m pretty sure that they have the motivation to work here.”

If there’s an industry you’re keen on learning about, or an employer you’d love to try out, asking about volunteer positions may be the best plan of action. Employers (and potential future employers) will appreciate the gift of your time, and you’ll gain some valuable intel for your future.

Especially for young applicants or those transitioning to a new industry, volunteering might be the easiest way to break through and build upon that lack of related work experience.

To discover more about the many benefits of volunteering, speak to a local job coach at Agilec in Innisfil. Learn more at