Skip to main content
Beedie School of Business › Marketing
SFU Student

Get Involved Banner
As seen in the reasons outlines above, volunteering is much more than just some experience to add to your resume or an opportunity to make some new friends.

A lot of articles are dedicated to emphasizing how important volunteering is, especially when it comes to students with little or no work experience. At the very least, volunteering gives you an opportunity to gain new friends, contribute to the community, and experience to put on a resume... you name it. As an international student in my first year, I was very excited about the idea of co-ops and internships. However, I did not have any work experience to showcase that I could perform a job or point out how I developed skills. My best bet at the time was to turn to volunteering. A lot of interesting volunteer positions required experience so I took on a couple things that interested me and later helped me to land a more challenging and enriching volunteer position. Little did I know at that point that that particular experience along with another volunteer position would play the biggest role (much bigger role than work experience) in helping me land my first co-op job. What made the volunteer experience so special in the hiring decision, you may wonder? Well, here is the answer:

  • Unique Experience: Some experience cannot easily be obtained through regular reception, retail, or waitressing experience. For example, event planning, marketing, tour guiding, and more experiences, are only achievable either through work that requires years of relevant experience or volunteering that exposes you to those functions. For example, during an interview for a marketing coordinator position, you can refer to a related volunteer position and describe what you achieved and learnt.

  • Industry Knowledge: According to research, most jobs (including co-ops and internships) are generated in a business-to-business setting rather than business-to-consumer (retail and food places). As two examples, let’s say you are partaking in a volunteer marketing research project, or you do outreaches describing proactive and reactive alternatives about a health issue for a promotional campaign at school. Sure enough, you are going to have an advantage over somebody who does not have this industry knowledge.

  • Industry Networking: It cannot be emphasized more how many jobs are only advertised to volunteers and internal employees. This hidden job market helps many people to either land entry-level jobs or internships upon graduation solely because they exhibited a high level of performance and enthusiasm during their volunteer involvement.

As seen in the reasons outlines above, volunteering is much more than just some experience to add to your resume or an opportunity to make some new friends. Just a little thing to keep in mind, don’t restrict yourself to one campus, place, or field. You never know what brilliant opportunities could come from that volunteer position you thought wouldn’t be a much of contribution to your skills/resume!

SFU Student
Ekaterina Smirnova is a fourth year Business student studying Marketing and Management Information Systems, and is a big supporter of volunteer engagement and SFU Co-op. She enjoys writing articles on topics that enrich people’s lives. 

You Might Like These... Prospective, Professional Development, Career Exploration

Co-op students jumping in the air
The Co-op Connection Helps Retention

In this blog post, Heather shares with us why co-op is an important experience for all students, whether it be to further career aspirations or to gain future employment opportunities. 

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

Hands holding a volunteer badge
Sana Siddiqui: Volunteerism Opens up Endless Possibilities | Part Two

She has been involved with SFU LEAD, Peer Programs and the SFU Muslim Students’ Association, just to name a few. Now, Sana Siddiqui, a Criminology student, reflects back and shares with us the invaluable academic, personal and professional skills and opportunities volunteering opened for her, read on to find out what she has to say about getting involved on campus and in the community.

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

SFU Burnaby Campus
My First day on the Job at TFCSE in SFU

After blogging her way through the interview process, Natalie found another Co-op position, this time right on campus in Maggie Benson Centre, and she's back to share her first days at TFCSE.

Jordan Robinson: Volunteer, Learn & Have Fun!

Do you want to improve your writing and communications skills? Do you want to meet other SFU students? If you answered “yes” to any of the two questions, becoming a peer educator may just be right for you! Let Jordan Robinson, a 4th-year Sociology student, tell you what valuable skills and experiences.

a girl smiling while working on her laptop at home
‘Cause Bloggers Gonna Blog (Blog, Blog, Blog, Blog, Blog)

"You need at least 2 years of work experience to get this (entry-level) position.” Learn how one student used volunteer blogging to gain that ever-so-important 2  years of experience and get a leg up in the professional world!