CANOE Network

The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


By Shannon Jackson
Special to The Toronto Sun

Q:I am a recent high school graduate, and I haven't had a lot of jobs. I have had people tell me I should do volunteer work in order to be able to put some experience on my resume. Do employers really care about volunteer work?

A:In short, yes. Many companies are committed to corporate social responsibility, and are interested in hiring a workforce of people who are dedicated to "giving back" to their communities.
Send your job-related questions to Diane Janes at, or mail to Career Connections, The Toronto Sun, 333 King St. E., 4th Floor, Toronto, Ont., M5A 3X5

Additionally, if you don't have a great deal of experience in the field you are interested in, volunteering can be a great way to make contacts, build your network, gain experience and try out a new field of work. Especially if you are able to volunteer in the capacity in which you are interested in working, volunteering can help you to gain the skills necessary for success in future job competitions.

Volunteer work is different, however, from paid employment. The level of commitment that an employer can reasonably expect from a volunteer is different than what they can command from a paid employee. As such, you will want to note on your resume that the work you've done is as a volunteer (you can do this by stating volunteer in your job title). That way, there are no surprises in an interview if you are asked what a particular position paid. Those who have recommended you extend yourself as a volunteer are offering solid advice -- I'd suggest taking them up on it.

And good luck in your search efforts!

(Shannon Jackson is a hiring expert, with more than seven years experience recruiting for Fortune 500 companies across Canada.)

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