Volunteer work is looked upon positively regardless of what type of work you’re doing. As a job candidate, it says something about your character that is admirable. Of course the more relevant the volunteer work is to your actual profession the more beneficial it’ll be, but ultimately, it is experience that you can learn from and that’ll make your resume more effective and impressive to potential employers.
There are certain situations where volunteer work can be particularly helpful to your job search:
1. The New Grad.
If you are a recent graduate just starting out, the only experience you may or may not have is internship experience and coursework. However, if you can refer to volunteer work experience, that may allow you to play up specific skills valued in a professional work setting. Volunteering can also lead to a paid job opportunity at the organization and it gives you access to a professional network of contacts who can potentially serve as your reference when you’re first starting out.
2. The Unemployed, Particularly The Long-Term Unemployed.
The trouble with those who are unemployed is employers fear there may be a lack of current experience and skills, especially if you’ve been unemployed for a long period. However, if you can show volunteer work to help fill in the unemployment gap, it demonstrates to employers that you’ve continued to put your skills to work. Perhaps there’s also unique experiences from volunteering that adds value to your existing experience and skills. And let’s be realistic – those who are jobless are often down in spirit. Volunteer work provides the opportunity to be productive again, which can help boost your confidence – an important component to project when interviewing.
3. The Career Changer.
It’s not easy to convince employers you’re the best fit for the job when you don’t have direct experience to offer. When you’re seeking to make a career change, volunteer work in the related field can help make the transition smoother. It allows you to show employers that you’ve had the opportunity to taste, test, and put yourself to work under a relevant work setting, which essentially is viewed much like direct experience.
4. The Career Explorer.
It’s not just those who come straight out of school who don’t know exactly where they want to head with their career, it happens to folks mid-way in their career, too! Some may enter a profession to later realize it’s just not right for them. Volunteering provides the opportunity to be exposed to different professions where you can find your way to what’s right. Even if you are volunteering in a department not at all related to where you may potentially want to head, just being part of the organization gives you access to potential contacts who can help by offering advice and guidance. Here you can request informational interviews with the right people to help you further learn and discover. For more tips to conducting an informational interview, read: “5 Rules to Remember For An Informational Interview.”
Volunteering is a win-win situation no matter your scenario. It allows you to build on experience, skills, and contacts. Altogether it improves on opportunities for job networking, job searching and enhancing your resume in a way that can help you land your next job.
About the author
Don Goodman’s firm was rated as the #1 Resume Writing Service in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Don is a triple-certified, nationally recognized Expert Resume Writer, Career Management Coach and Job Search Strategist who has helped thousands of people secure their next job. Check out his Resume Writing Service. Get a Free Resume Evaluation or call him at 800.909.0109 for more information.
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