As you are writing your resume, you have most likely listed your skill-set, your professional experience, work history, and education. However, did you also consider your volunteerism and community involvement initiatives? If you haven’t, now is the time to start thinking how these items can help you in your job search.
First, consider how you have chosen your volunteer activities. Most likely, you are working with organizations and events that align directly with your skills and qualifications. Although this isn’t paid work, it is still valuable experience that can be used to attract a potential employer.
Next, have you been unemployed for short or long time periods? If so, ramp up your volunteerism during this time and list it on your resume. For example, if you are in accounting or bookkeeping and currently serve as the treasurer for your church, consider adding this to your resume. If you are an event planner that has planned large-scale events for your child’s school, list this as well. And, remember that this experience can be listed under professional experience—just because it isn’t paid work doesn’t mean that it isn’t “professional” work.
Finally, consider how those community involvement activities may have added further connections to your circle. Did you know that many people find new job positions through personal connections rather than job advertisements? Use your volunteering time to also network with community leaders. You never know when someone at an event may hear about the perfect opportunity for you.
And, most importantly, volunteerism is a great way to give back to the community. Recently, I finished a volunteer assignment with Junior Achievement – a wonderful organization that focuses on teaching children the value of financial literacy and the entrepreneurial spirit. My assignment was Erica Abramowicz’s fourth grade class at Holy Ghost Elementary School in Chippewa Falls. The time commitment was one hour each week for five weeks. And, I can tell you that the time was well spent – the students were engaged, enjoyed the curriculum, and had great ideas along the way. If you have the opportunity to volunteer with Junior Achievement or another organization that interests you, take advantage of the opportunity to make a difference in your community.