Every student and professional knows about the never-ending circle of experience: you can’t get a job without experience and you can’t get experience without a job. The best way out of the circle is volunteering, and the best way to gain experience in the communications world is through volunteering with IABC. Volunteering with IABC has innumerable benefits, many of which will stick with volunteers through the rest of their lives.
When I signed up to volunteer with IABC, I had no idea what to expect: I certainly didn’t expect to have an experience as amazing as I did. The IABC Edmonton Chapter won the chapter of the year award for a reason: the people within the chapter make volunteering an amazing and fun experience that makes you genuinely want to continue volunteering for them.
I certainly got a lot through my volunteer experience with IABC (far too much to put in this blog post, at least), but here are a few of the greatest things I gained from my volunteer work:
- Experience in the Field: Hands-on experience? Yes please! I spent time interviewing Edmonton communicators, researching communication trends, and writing about communication topics for a variety of audiences, which has taught me a lot about the field itself.
- Networking Opportunities: Volunteer positions may be temporary, but networking is forever. I’ve met many people through IABC, and they have all been absolutely fantastic people who want to keep in contact so we can continue to support each other through our careers.
- Career Development: IABC offers volunteers professional development through the opportunity to learn new skills to enhance their careers. Opportunities to further your knowledge in your field will help you whether you are an entry-level professional or a seasoned practitioner. Unfortunately, I never made it out to any career development events (and yes, I do regret it), but everyone I’ve spoken to has said they are amazing and has highly recommended them.
- Flexible Hours: IABC understands that all their volunteers have lives outside of their volunteer work, and they’re more than happy to work around personal schedules. This flexibility really makes IABC great: they work with you instead of making you feel like you’re working by yourself.
Throughout my time with IABC, I worked with amazing people; some budding communicators like me, some experienced communicators, and everyone in-between. No matter how experienced the person sitting across the table from me was, they always wanted to share their experiences with me and they always wanted to hear about my experience. Getting to speak with like-minded people about topics that genuinely mattered to me, to them, and to the field as a whole was an experience unlike any other: the communications field feels really small until you realize just how many people are an active part of it.
Volunteering with IABC is an amazing experience, and it’s something no communications professional should miss out on! If you’re interested in volunteering, you can read our volunteer policy here and sign up to become a volunteer here. Questions? Contact our senior director of volunteers, Krasna Kos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by: Kyra Droog
Kyra Droog is an Edmonton-based editor, writer, and Oxford comma enthusiast. She is a 4th year Bachelor of Communication Studies student at MacEwan University, a publishing intern with the academic publisher Anthem Press, and is looking at entering the publishing field after graduation. You can find her communications/pop-culture/fitness-based blog at www.thehardybeatles.wordpress.com.