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Can Volunteering Help You Establish a Career?

You can gain a wealth of experience outside the workforce.

When I was younger, volunteering meant walking dogs or helping kindergartners learn how to read. It was a no-brainer at the time. I would check in, get my name badge, do my thing, check out and go home. Sure, it felt good to help others but this was so easy, anyone could do it. At the Humane Society, my job description consisted of cleaning dog and cat cages, giving them fresh food and water, taking dogs out for walks or petting cats. Not exactly the skills you promote on your resume. At the schools, my job consisted of helping 6-year old children read “See Spot Run”. Seriously, how could this be of any benefit to my future career.

This is a pretty common myth for most people. We don’t see how the skills we’re utilizing at our fun volunteering jobs as beneficial for our serious adult jobs. Ready to bust this myth out of the water? Read the list below and prepare to see your volunteering experiences in a whole new light:Volunteering can help establish a career

  1. Checking in – this shows your commitment, attendance, reliability, and tenure. These are GREAT strengths to highlight in your interview or on your cover letter. The fact that you can show up when you say you’re going to show up, makes you a star candidate right there. Attendance is the number one reason for turnover. How do you prove you won’t be another turnover statistic in their books? Highlight your reliability and tenure at your volunteering experiences.
  2. Putting on your required name badge – yes, simple acts like this prove you can follow directions! Maybe not the best example to use in an interview, but repeating simple job requirements like this get you in the habit of following directions. You’d think this would just be a trait that we’re all genetically inclined to do, but surprisingly no. This actually takes practice, and lots of it!
  3. Working with dogs – (or animals in general) Can you work in a chaotic environment? YES. Can you multi-task? YES. Are you okay to get your hands dirty at work? YES. Can you work in loud environments? YES. Can you problem solve? (figuring out how to open the cage door without Buster busting out?) YES. Can you act fast if a problem arises? (Dog gets loose while walking him, what do you do - you run FAST) YES to ALL! I can go on and on about all the skills you obtain through the simple experience of just walking a dog.
  4. Reading with 6-year old children – (or any younger age really) nothing shows patience more than sitting through a half hour rendition of “See Spot Run”. Working with people is a lot more difficult than you’d think. You have no control over them, but you need to get them to complete the task at hand. This takes patience, creative thinking, ability to encourage others to succeed, repetition, strong communication skills, and sometimes empathy. Proving that you don’t give up on others until you help them succeed shows the quality of a true leader.

Usually when we volunteer, it’s for areas that we’re passionate about. Passion drives our willingness to practice over and over and over. Practice breeds Habits. Good habits create good employees. It can be hard to know where to start when trying to gain experience, but remember that it is possible to start working towards a career outside of the workforce. Here at Supplemental Staffing, we can always assist you!Need Experience?

When you’re entering the business world for either the first time or re-entering the business world after a long break, you have to figure out how to make yourself shine over your competition – the other candidates. How do you compete against someone with job experiences that you don’t have? You gently acknowledge them, but then move confidently onto your skills that you have from other life experiences – VOLUNTEERING. These are your strengths. Highlight them in bold colors. Show how you can implement them to the job you’re applying for. Don’t sell yourself short. List your skills, state when you used them, explain why they were important for those tasks, show how you can transfer them to this company, and conclude with WHY you will be successful here.

Topics: Establishing a Career, Volunteering, Re-Entering the Workforce