Work Towards Your Career, Not an Hourly Wage

Work Towards Your Career, Not an Hourly Wage

By: Jeannie Chong
  3973 reads

Having a hard time making the decision - whether to be a diligent student in “school mode” during summer session or earn some money through a summer job? Of course, there is no right or wrong answer for you on how you spend the summer. But wait… what about the third option - work without pay?

Some may ask, why not do a summer job earning some always-useful money?

Believe it or not, according to the Canada Survey on Giving, Volunteering and Participating, 2010, 13.3 million Canadians contribute 2.1 billion volunteer hours annually. That is the equivalent of 1.1 million full-time jobs in total.

Volunteering is definitely a great way to figure out what you really want to do. It is never too early to think about what interests you, what skills you’d like to develop, or what environments would be a good fit for you. Volunteering provides you invaluable experience, develops new skills and competencies, establishes connections, builds your resume and even makes your summer stand out!

Better yet, you can meet new people who can give you guidance and job references, and possibly help you to find a paid job in the future. Volunteering is also an important way to engage with your community.

Money matters plenty; but it is not the only indicator or motivation for assessing the value of a job. Whether it is paid or not, as long as you gain valuable experience and skills, and learn something from it, it is definitely worthwhile!

I have been volunteering at Career Services for two semesters. Volunteering as a Career Peer is one of the most rewarding experiences of my university life. I made good connections with a group of passionate friends. It also allows me to explore my interests and career path. I continue to volunteer because I have gained confidence and positive experiences working with students. In addition, being a Career Peer enriches my knowledge in writing professional resumes and cover letters, tips to succeed in a job interview, build good references and allowed me to be nurtured by a supportive mentor. With all of these benefits I was able to shine as a job applicant and secure a full-time summer Co-op position at SFU Career Services. 

So, where’s a good place to find ways you can contribute? Browse volunteer postings on SFU Symplicity, myInvolvement or Go to find the perfect volunteer opportunity that suits your skills and interests. You will be surprised to see how diverse the volunteer opportunities available in many fields. Of course, our Volunteer Services Advisors and Career Peers are here to assist you in exploring your own engaging adventure!

Jeannie Chong
Jeannie Chong is a Special Projects Assistant with SFU Career Services, and a fourth year student studying communications and publishing. Jeannie also volunteers at a radio station, spends time doing crafts and Chinese calligraphy, and loves to indulge her sweet tooth.

Posted on May 16, 2013