by Ruby Arsenault, Employment Coach/Facilitator with the Tignish Employment Resources (ER) Centre
The skills and knowledge gained from sitting on a board of directors can be so valuable to the job seeker.
Volunteer experience is often viewed highly by employers, as it shows the initiative and transferable skills an employer may be seeking in a staff member.
As a member of a board, the skills you gain can provide professional development and personal growth.
In the 20 years I have assisted individuals to create resumés, I have always encouraged them to include their volunteer experience. I also encourage clients to get involved with their community. This kind of exposure to the world of business and organizations is priceless.
Sharon Horne, Executive Director of Rural Community Learning Inc., is a community-minded individual who has spent much time volunteering on numerous boards over the years in positions from a member of a board of directors to chair. “When you give your time, you receive it back ten-fold,” says Sharon. “I have gained so many skills from my experiences.”
Skills such as the following can be gained by being on a board:
- Public speaking
- Team player
- Good listening & communication
From volunteering on a board employers get the impression that applicants may have the following attributes:
- Can work as part of a team
- Has interest in their community
- Dedicated to making a difference
Sharon says as an employer she is very pleased to see volunteering/director experience on resumés. “Any employer would see this type of experience as valuable.”
Board participation can offer professional development and personal growth
John Handrahan has been involved with various boards since he was 26 years of age. His parents have also been very involved with co-op organizations over the years.
“As an entrepreneur and employer of a family farm, we operated our business in accordance with many of the same principles that co-ops abide by,” says John. “I have been exposed to the same principles as a director.
“The vast knowledge I have gained through being a director has equipped me with many learning experiences that transferred into my own career.
“One of the highlights is being a part of a collaborative team and hearing and sharing ideas with fellow directors. This has given me a broader perspective on problem solving and business operations.
“Being a director has led to many positive experiences and has been an excellent means of networking. It can be a good eye opener as to how others handle similar situations, and it is rewarding when a conclusion is made through each director’s input.”
John says as an employer he highly regards an applicant who has experience on a board as it demonstrates character. “I would encourage people to put their names forward. It is a tremendous opportunity to learn and gain positive problem-solving skills and you meet some pretty amazing people along the way.”
Below are some of the local community organizations who look for volunteer board of director members:
Tignish Health Co-operative Assn. Ltd.
Wendy Arsenault, Manager
Tignish Seniors Home Care Co-operative Ltd.
Lorianne Keough, Manager
Tignish Co-operative Association
Darren MacKinnon, Manager
Rural Community Learning Inc.
Sharon Horne, Executive Director