CanPrep program’s recent webinar on “Harnessing the Power of Networking for Professional Success ” covered Volunteering as a vital tool to build on your network as a newcomer to Canada. Volunteering gives newcomers an opportunity to start using your skills from Day 1 of arriving here and also to develop new skills. Some immigrants who need to brush up on their English or French skills can do so while volunteering. Volunteering will not only give you practical knowledge of Canadian workplace but also add valuable Canadian experience to your resume. Networking opportunities offered by volunteering helps you tap into the “hidden job market” which can represent as much as 80% of available jobs. You can learn more about the hidden job market in CanPrep’s eLearning modules on ‘Getting Hired in Canada’
Gain related professional experience.
Research and identify organizations that have legitimate volunteer departments, represent causes that are meaningful for you, and that have possible spots where you can gain work experience, learn and improve your skills and qualifications. Check out sites such as Charity Village, Working in Non-profit, Volunteer Toronto, your relevant sector council or professional association as places to volunteer.
Build and Leverage Your Professional Network.
While you are volunteering, be dedicated and apply the same effort to your volunteering as you would as an employee. Always make sure your work gets done. Be as helpful as possible to others. Make an effort to have lunch with the team, and find other opportunities to start meeting other people at the company. Build a relationship with your supervisor because they may be able to refer you to a colleague for another opportunity.
Help others and help yourself.
Research reports that adults who volunteer may live longer and healthier lives and it increases empathy and compassion. It’s not good to isolate yourself when you are looking for work. Volunteering can help you get out of your home and get involved in positive experiences, as well as get the positive feeling that you are giving back to the community.
Bridge the gaps in your resume.
Add your volunteer experience to your resume and social media presence. Employers value candidates who make a difference in the community; it helps you answer the question “what are you doing right now?” It also covers the gap in your work history and keeps you busy while you are looking for paid employment.
How to prepare for volunteering before you arrive:
If you are an Internationally Trained professional and you understand that volunteering can be an excellent tool to give you a head-start into your career in Canada, here are ways you can start preparing even before you arrive:
- Research organizations that offer positions in or close to your field
- Establish connection with the organization to understand their needs
- Few weeks before arrival write to the organization and inform that you are interested in volunteering as soon as you arrive
Resources to find Volunteering opportunities in Canada: