This is the fourth in a series of blogs supporting the College to Career Calendar available for downloading at Interview2work.com.

This week’s College to Career Calendar assignment is recording the information you will need to showcase your volunteer experiences. And, if you have not done volunteer work, your task is to consider completing a volunteer assignment before graduating.

pic-for-vol-blogWhy include your volunteer experience on your resume? It allows you to:

  • Demonstrate your commitment to facilitating positive change; companies with strong social responsibility cores see volunteer experience as an asset.
  • Showcase your professional skills; volunteer opportunities often let you use the management, project management, and communication skills that are key to qualifying for professional positions.
  • Increase the odds of finding a job; The Corporation for National and Community Service, found that those who volunteered had a 27% better chance of finding a job than those who didn’t.

Assuring a prospective employer realizes the significance of your volunteer work requires properly showcasing it on your resume. Whichever way you have chosen to capture the information for your resume (Excel spreadsheet, Word document, or notebook) be sure to record the following:

The name of the organization.

Location of the organization. Record the city and state where you did your volunteer work.

Dates volunteer.  Note the months and year you worked at the agency.

Volunteer title. An easy way to create a title is to use the word volunteer followed by a colon and the task you completed. For example, Volunteer: Food Distribution Program.

A brief description of the organization.  Write 2-3 sentences stating what the organization does. Most charities have a description of what they do on their websites. The web is a great place to get the information you need to write your summary.

A brief description of what you did. Write a 2-3 sentence overview of your responsibilities. Emphasis the career-related skills the assignment required:  communication, organization, project management, and time management are a few examples.

5-6 accomplishment statements. This is probably the most important part of creating the volunteer section of your resume.  Showcase the skills you used, the projects you participated in, and their impact. For example, if you worked on a holiday food drive:

  • Worked with 30 volunteers to pack and distribute food for a holiday meal to over 1500 low-income families in 12 hours.

Also, include at least one accolade in your list of accomplishments. For example:

  • Recipients and origination staff commented on how energetic and positive I remained during 12 hours of hard work.

If you are considering doing volunteer work for the first time before you graduate, there are few things to consider:

Why Volunteer:

  • Expand your professional network. Forty-three percent of volunteers are college educated. Volunteering is great opportunity to meet business leaders. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009)
  • Demonstrate your commitment to facilitating positive change; companies with strong social responsibility cores see volunteer experience as an asset.
  • Gain professional skills; volunteer opportunities often let you use the management, project management, and communication skills that are key to qualifying for professional positions.
  • Increase the odds of finding a job; The Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that promotes volunteerism found that those who volunteered had a 27% better chance of finding a job than those who didn’t.

Securing a resume building volunteer opportunity:

Check in with your career center or student association, both frequently get requests for volunteers. Another great way to find interesting opportunities is on www.volunteermatch.com.

Chose an opportunity aligned with your career goals and schedule. If you are in IT, find opportunities to work on project in your field. If you plan to go into human services, find opportunities to work directly with agency clients.

Treat your volunteer job as you would a professional paid position. Whether your volunteer assignment is for 2 hours or 2 months, make sure you complete it or let the agency know well in advance why you need to be replaced. Arrive on time each day ready to give 100%. Dress and act professionally at all times. Learn as much as you can by volunteering for extra assignments and asking questions.

 

Questions? Send an email to Lorraine@interview2work.com

 

References used in the development of this blog

http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2013/06/24/proof-that-volunteering-pays-off-for-job-hunters/#2f93f7c73c6c

https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/five-ways-volunteering-can-help-you-get-a-job-hot-jobs

 

 

 

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