Natalie's Co-op Blog: How Volunteering Helped Me Get My First Co-op Job

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Natalie's Co-op Blog: How Volunteering Helped Me Get My First Co-op Job

By: npope
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“It looks like you’ve been a very busy lady,” my interviewer said to me. I nervously chuckled and said, “Yeah, I guess so!” I fidgeted with my blouse as my interviewer further examined my resume. All the while I sat there worried about what she was thinking.

Applying for jobs is a very difficult task. Especially if you do not have any work experience and you are just entering the ‘working world’ like I was. Other than my restaurant job, I did not have any working experience. Since I was applying for an office job, I really had zero relevant work experience!

Fortunately for me, I did do quite a bit of volunteering. These volunteer positions gave my resume a bit more weight and versatility, and it showed that I had more dimensions to me than simply my part time job and school. Even if my work and volunteer experience was not directly related, the skills I learned were transferable to this position.

The interviewer scanned my resume and asked me to tell her about my volunteer positions. In one volunteer position, I actually won an award, and I think that impressed my interviewer. Not only do I volunteer, but I actually also cared to the point where I was able to excel in my role.

Volunteering is not only fun, but it gives you a competitive edge over other candidates fighting for the same jobs as you. The people who just go to school and work are missing out on a valuable opportunity to add to their resume and to distinguish themselves from others. If you think about it, if everyone just goes to school and work, how are interviewers supposed to select their new employee?

Volunteering demonstrates your exceptional time management skills to multi-task and juggle different tasks at the same time. As well, volunteering shows a lot about your character - that you care about bigger issues and want to give back to your community. Through your volunteer work, you also obtain skills that can be transferrable to your dream job. 

Yes, when you volunteer you don’t get paid, but my volunteering position certainly paid off when my interviewer called later that afternoon offering me the job.

Natalie is a fourth year Communications and English student with a love for writing and learning. She is in the midst of her first co-op workterm as a marketing assistant, where she is learning many practical skills and life lessons that inspired her to write this blog series. She has previously volunteered as an Orientation Leader, and is currently volunteering as an FCAT Mentor.

Posted on January 19, 2013