August 26th, 2014
Written by volunteer, Getinvolved user, and university student Jessica Chapman. Find her on Twitter @JessicaJaimie47
As a student entering the first year of my MA, I?m increasingly apprehensive about the thing I keep hearing from friends, peers, and the media: the job market is dismal. I know that a Master?s degree won?t guarantee a foot in the door, so I?m getting a leg up on the competition by seeking experience early.
After some brainstorming and research, it became clear that volunteering would be the best way for me to gain the experience I need. Like many students, I was having trouble finding a part-time job in my field. But, as it turns out, there?s no shortage of volunteer positions available. Many of these opportunities were actually for virtual volunteers, meaning that they could be done from anywhere. And that turned out to be perfect for me!
Virtual volunteering is so convenient
Despite being a communications student, it never occurred to me how many volunteer positions in my field could be done entirely online. The ability to volunteer from my smartphone, wherever and whenever I have the time, means that I can continue to volunteer during the school year and stay on top of my hectic schedule.
Virtual volunteering isn?t limited to communications or technology positions either! It can include, outreach, teaching, consulting, and so many other roles.
The world is your oyster
Volunteering virtually opens up so many more opportunities because it does away with geographic restrictions. The organization that I?m currently working with is Foster a Child to Excel in Society, which is in Montréal. Although I?m based in Ottawa, as a virtual volunteer I?m able to choose from an endless list of organizations, which presents more opportunities and gives me the chance to find an organization that is the perfect fit for me.
The most challenging part of finding the right position was narrowing down the skills I wanted to acquire and determining where I could exercise those skills. To strengthen my abilities in communications, I decided it would be best to gain experience writing blogs and managing social media channels. These skills are essential in my field. From there, I browsed through volunteer postings until I found an organization with a mandate that resonated with me, because it?s much easier and more fulfilling to write about topics that you care about!
As a volunteer blogger and social media coordinator, I?ve had the opportunity to engage in conversations that are important to me while adding meaningful skills and experience to my resume. For me, virtual volunteering is a perfect fit because I?m simultaneously helping a great cause, staying on top of my schoolwork, and acquiring skills that will make me a competitive candidate in my field.
Find volunteers like Jessica here.