Many people think volunteer experience is attractive to employers: Survey

Volunteering perceived to prepare recent graduates for workplace

Nine in 10 people believe volunteer experience on a resumé makes a post-secondary graduate a more attractive candidate to potential employers, according to a survey by the DeVry Institute of Technology of 500 people in Calgary. The survey also found that eight in 10 respondents believe pursuing volunteer work prior to graduation is important for post-secondary students.

"The survey findings validate the feedback we frequently hear from employers: They value the time and effort that potential employees put into volunteer activities," said Karen Franco, communications director for Volunteer Calgary. "Employers believe volunteering is an excellent way to build skills that are beneficial in the workplace."

Survey respondents also indicated they believe the skills and values which graduates acquire through volunteer experiences make them more attractive to employers.

"Volunteering develops an understanding of how to function in a workplace and how to work as part of a team," said Franco. "Volunteer experience of any kind is seen as an asset in today's job market, and graduates are not limited in the volunteer activities they wish to pursue."

Three-quarters of survey respondents believe that both career-related and non-career-related volunteer experience make post-secondary graduates more attractive to employers.

"When students pursue volunteer opportunities, they need to decide what it is that they would like to get out of their experience," said Anila Umar, director of career services for DeVry Institute of Technology in Calgary. "We recommend that students volunteer for an organization whose work they are passionate about or is of interest to them."

Eighty-seven per cent of survey respondents agreed that volunteer work provides graduates with the skills needed to excel in their new position, with 65 per cent agreeing somewhat and 22 per cent agreeing strongly, found the survey.

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