5 steps to applying successfully for a volunteer position

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Thinking of volunteering? Take the following steps:

  1. Choose a volunteer position

    Know what you’re good at – What can you do to help an organization or a cause? Look at your experience, knowledge, skills and resources. Make a list and match your skills to volunteer activities.

    Know what you’re passionate about – Match your skills with causes that you like. For example: You know basic accounting and you want to help those who can’t afford accounting services. You can get involved in the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP). The program helps people with preparing simple tax returns for free.

  2. Look for opportunities

    Find people or groups who share your passion. Start within your community. Check neighbourhood or community centre bulletins, search online or use your network. Ask family, friends, or immigrant-serving organizations for openings. You can also check Volunteer Manitoba to see opportunities around MB.

    Check if it is the type of work you want, if it fits your schedule, or if the location is convenient.

  3. Prepare the requirements

    Submit a resume or fill out an application. Be ready with two to three references. They may ask for a Child Abuse Registry Check, or Police Record Check. This will depend on the nature of the volunteer work. Ask the organization first before applying for these documents.

  4. Prepare for the interview

    Learn about the organization – Visit the organization’s website to get more information. Read about their activities and know their mission, vision and goals.

    Practice answering questions – Think about how you will answer usual interview questions. See sample questions from the video below:

    Top 10 volunteer interview questions from Mock questions

  5. Ace the interview

    Make a good first impression – Come on time. Be confident and show enthusiasm. Greet people warmly, be polite and attentive.

    Answer behavioural questions with STAR – STAR is situation, task, action and result. Follow this pattern when answering behavioural questions. Watch the video below for more tips:

    How to succeed in your job interview: Behavioural Questions from EngVid

    Tell them how you can help the organization – Explain how your interests and skills will make the organization’s work better.

    Ask questions – Ask about:

    • orientation and training
    • flexibility about schedule changes (especially if you have shift work or are actively applying to jobs)
    • the time you need to commit

Stay positive and you’ll do well. Goodluck!
Article updated January 24, 2023.
Sources: Volunteer interviews: 5 tips for sharing your motivation, Olivia Ryan/Basil Sadiq, Volunteer match.org; Pan Canadian Youth Opportunities Platform, Volunteer Canada; Volunteer Screening: The interview, Verified Volunteers; and Volunteer interview tips, Marcy Brinkley, Livestrong. Retrieved January 10, 2019.

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