Career Calling

November 8, 2011

Volunteering to Enhance Your Resume

How can you improve a skills or gain experience in a time when it’s hard to find a job?  Volunteer.  Many organizations need volunteers, and they will let volunteers learn on the job, a luxury many companies cannot afford. According to a recent article in the New York Times, 41% of employers consider volunteer work as important as paid work.  20% of employers said volunteer experience was a factor in their hiring decisions. 

Be selective and strategic if you are volunteering to enhance your resume.  Be sure that you are going to develop skills that are relevant to the job you will be pursuing.  You will probably have to turn down some opportunities because they do not fit your goals. 

Once you are established in a volunteer position, keep track of your actions and accomplishments.  Build good relationships with your supervisors because they will be important  for job references.  You can also ask them to write recommendations on LinkedIn, which many employers now review as part of recruiting and employee background checks.

Will a volunteer position lead to a new job?  Not necessarily.  But it can help you develop skills and experience that smart employers will value.  Find a way to help yourself while you help others. It will look good on your resume.

Postscript: The Times article mentions VolunteerMatch as a website for people seeking volunteer opportunities.

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