Last night, at an event organized by Immploy and CPA Ontario, I was sitting at a table with several people who are either already pursuing their CPA designation, or are considering it. We talked about job search strategies, particularly networking, because it’s so valuable, and it’s one of the main advantages of joining a professional organization that is related to a job you are interested in. An association like the College of Teachers or the College of Nurses is basically a network that you can access all at once. It’s a really good idea to look into guilds, colleges, or professional associations as part of your job search.
One of the participants asked me about volunteering: if he’s interested in doing it, what kind of organization should he volunteer with?
My advice was to find a cause that he cared about. There are lots of reasons to volunteer, and lots of ways to make a difference. If you’re going to put effort into something, then it should be something you are interested in or passionate about.
So what are some of the benefits of volunteering?
Volunteer experience looks good on a resume. It shows that you’re engaged in the community and have interests outside of work. An employer wants people who have multiple strengths, and volunteering is a good way to show that you can do several things.
Volunteering is a great place to try new things and learn new skills. It’s also a good way to find out who well suited you are for something. Want to be a cook? You could volunteer with a soup kitchen to see how well you hand kitchen duties. There are lots of ways you can use a volunteer position to learn if what you think you want is really what you want.
Another bonus: if Englsh is your second language, volunteering is a great way to practice and to improve your skills!
Like a professional organization, a volunteer organization is a ready-made network; one people WANT you to join. You can meet people you would never otherwise encounter. If you want to build your network, volunteering is a great way to do it.
It feels good
People like to be helpful, they like to make a difference, and they like to be with other people. Volunteering prevents isolation and can really make a person feel useful.
It’s the right thing to do
This is the most important reason. Volunteers make the world go around. They feed the hungry and care for the sick. They protect animals or the environment. They make sure that kids get to play sports or learn an instrument. They produce art and run festivals. So much of the great stuff that happens in our communities happens because volunteers make it happen.
If you’re thinking about volunteering, you can check out Pillar’s website for lots of opportunities. Check it out. If you want any more advice on what you can do to improve your job prospects, please come see us.