Volunteer Opportunities for Industry Experience

Volunteer Opportunities for Industry Experience

By: Alexandra Lowe
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The number one complaint I hear from students trying to get into the working world is “all entry level jobs require me to have related experience, how can I get related experience if no one will hire me!” Well, I’m here to tell you how: Volunteer!

I’m sure a lot of you scoffed and thought, “How can helping out at an event, or sorting food at the food bank give me meaningful experience?” Those experiences, although valuable, may not provide you with the right experience but there are others that will. You can get real-life event planning, social media, budget balancing, marketing, managing or graphic design experience through volunteering. Not-for-profit organizations are constantly looking for people who can help out in any of these areas.

How can you find these opportunities? They may not be as easy to find because they are more meaningful. Symplicity and GoVolunteer are some good places to start. Try asking an organization you may already be involved with if they have an opportunity for you to further develop your skills. Also check out clubs and societies (SFU or external) that may be related to your industry of choice (examples: IABC, CPRS, YWiB, BCAMA, GFOABC).

So find a position that allows you to give back to the community while you gain skills, and portfolio pieces. Talking to professionals, many of them got their start by doing meaningful work for free, by interning or volunteering. So begin your career journey by trying out some of these volunteer roles and gaining experience.

Here are some currently available positions to help get you started:

Alexandra Lowe is a co-op student working as the Volunteer Services Assistant. She studies communication and in her spare time she volunteers, plays sports and enjoys the outdoors. You can find her in Career Services in MBC 0300 and don't forget to visit the Volunteer Services website (sfu.ca/volunteer) to getin information about the latest events and opportunities

Posted on April 04, 2013