Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The resume - part 2 - the Volunteer Section

I started talking about resumes (click here) and left the conversation hanging.  I mentioned there was more, so....

Lets go to what is normally near the end - Volunteering.  Being a volunteer is a tough job, where the reward is not money.  Volunteers have deep commitment to serving others & they help our communities thrive.  Whether it is health, education, culture, the arts, the environment, we all benefit from the actions of volunteers.

Normally, people put Volunteer experience on their resume to make the argument that they care about and give back to their community, and it also might show what causes they care about.  But by putting this on your resume, it seems like you are just putting your hand up and saying you will help with anything.

But I think that many of you do (or could) use your expertise, your skills, and your passion to "professionally" help volunteer organizations.

Most volunteer organizations are run just like businesses.  They need executives, leaders, managers, supervisors, finance, public relations, HR, project managers, IT, sales people, administrative assistance, procurement . . .

Reflect on some of your past volunteering.  Was the work relevant to the job you are making your resume for?  Are some of the skills and behaviours applicable to that job? 

If you think so, then use this section of your resume just like you would your paid work-experience.

A sample section in a resume might look like this:

Volunteer Experience

2011 Government of Canada United Way Campaign
Regional Office Coordinator

- led the annual campaign in my office of 15 people &  achieved our donation target of $3,200
- planned specific events for the office, including 50-50 raffle, and participated in Canada Place wide events
- facilitated speakers to come to explain the role of the United Way in our community
- grew giving through payroll deduction by 40%

If you do not have any great volunteer experiences, then go out and get them.  Trust me, these organizations can't have enough volunteers!

Also, volunteering can be an excellent way to change or grow your career-relevant experiences, skills, and competencies.  If you want a career in public relations, manage the publication of a newsletter (or better yet, a blog).  If you want a career in HR, help advertise, assess, and on-board new volunteers.  If you want a career in environmental sciences, adopt a local grove of trees or wetland.  If you want a career in project management, manage a large community project, like a new playground build, and so on and so forth.  Most of these organizations won't interview you for the "job" and will let you learn as you go.

Along the way, you might nurture your commitment to serve others even more, your community will benefit from your brain & your sweat equity, and you will be a good role model for others.  You will also realize that the reward of a great career is not the salary - it is playing a role you love to benefit others.

.....and while volunteering, practice your networking!!

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