Volunteering your time is a fun and easy way to make a difference and even find a way to find a way out of a stale job. Not only does volunteer work equally look great on a resume as it does make you feel great about helping others, but donating your time through volunteering is also an excellent and underrated way of gaining skills and making connections helpful for finding a way into a new job.
Volunteering can help your resume
if you struggle from any of the following resume pitfalls:
New to the workforce
If you have done volunteer work in the past, or you’re just starting now, having a steady length of volunteer work looks just as good to employers as having had a job for the same amount of time even if you only volunteer once a week. Having two years of volunteer experience can get you many of the same benefits as having a job for the same duration since it shows employers that you commit to a position and stay there.
Lack of management experience
If you’re a professional who takes volunteering as seriously as you would take a job, it’s relatively easy to get leadership experience in volunteer work. You might start by putting library books on shelves or reading to kindergartners, but many volunteer organizations have openings for people who can act like the staff, and those positions can come with some impressive-sounding titles–think Site Coordinator or Assistant Program Manager. You’re still a volunteer, but it shows companies that your leadership skills have been recognized elsewhere. A promotion is still a promotion, and you’re proven as someone who can earn them.
No professional connections
In addition to the admirable new titles you’ll be earning for yourself, volunteering can make your connections that turn into impressive references. Having a Volunteer Coordinator or a Program Manager or a Library Director able to speak about your altruism and work ethic is never a bad thing.
How do you make the most out of volunteering?
Of course, in order for all of the Program Managers and Creative Directors to give your work rave reviews, you have to actually put in the time and treat it like a real job. Don’t do no-call-no-shows. Let them know if you have any scheduled absences. Don’t just show up to be a warm body – start conversations. Get to know people. Treat it like a job and give it your best. People will notice.
What can you do right now to get the new job?
If you’re interested in having volunteer experience on your resume, don’t wait. Search around for a local volunteer organization doing something that you care about. Local libraries can be mostly volunteer-run. Many hospitals have volunteers interacting with patients and doing office work. Even if you have just started volunteering, seeing that on a resume gives you something special. There’s something that you care about enough to donate your time, which very few people do.
If you’re in any position where you’re looking to boost your resume and make connections that could lead you to your next job, try volunteering. Even if you don’t see changes to your employment status right away you’re still doing a good thing for the right reasons. Enjoy the connections you make along the way.