Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Volunteering is Priceless … And Measurable on a Resume

Most of the time I am going to use this space to tell you about the amazing things that Girl Scouting offers girls, about the host of issues that girls face in today’s world, and about some of our Girl Scouts – girls and adults – who are already making the world a better place. Today I diverge a bit to remind people how valuable volunteering is to their communities, to their lives, and to their resumes. Girl Scouting only exists because of our dedicated volunteers. Without the folks who GIVE their time and talent, there would be no Girl Scouts.  – If you already volunteer, I hope that you will use this as a reminder of how to tell your story by including your volunteer work as a valuable piece of your resume. If you are thinking of volunteering, consider the extra benefits…

Whenever I have the privilege to speak one-on-one to thank our volunteers, they ALWAYS tell me how much more they get back than they give.  We know that is true in terms of personal satisfaction. VOLUNTEERING – for the Girls Scouts or any group with whom you share a passion and a mission – IS GOOD FOR YOU IN SO MANY WAYS!

Volunteering is a chance to give back and bring positive change to the world. It can also serve as the ultimate resume booster, demonstrating to potential employers that a job candidate is community-minded and in possession of a range of desirable skills. In fact, highlighting community service might just be the right ingredient that sets one candidate apart from the competition. 

Research has shown that people who volunteer live longer and are healthier and happier; a boost to self-esteem and well-being for any job seeker! Those who volunteer help a worthy cause while honing their talents and expanding their network. These networking opportunities are direct and effective, more influential than the usual meet-and-greet events. 

The volunteer position most lauded in our organization is that of Girl Scout Troop Leader. The women and men who make time in their lives to work directly with girls develop a host of skills that transfer into the work world. They organize and motivate. They teach and they listen. They are problem solvers and mediators. They manage administrative tasks, spearhead fundraising events, and identify community service needs. All of them work from their hearts.   

Volunteering is a low-cost and low-risk way to explore new career avenues, expand an avocation or just try something new. It is also a way to take existing talents and use them in a new way. For someone who is considering becoming a teacher, being a Troop Leader might be a way to gauge her ease in communicating informally with children. An accountant might lend her insight to a finance committee. Someone who is an avid knitter might volunteer to teach others how to knit. Someone who loves the outdoors, but doesn’t have access to outdoor opportunities, might decide to volunteer at camp. Love to fix cars?  Have an antique doll collection? Trained in first aid/CPR? Want to raise puppies? Everyone has assets that will transfer to a volunteer organization.  Almost every volunteer organization has opportunities to use people with their current skill set, and ways for people to learn new things and apply themselves in new ways.  

Once you’ve gained worthwhile experience in a volunteer setting, be sure to highlight it properly on your resume. For example, rather than just saying “Volunteer – Girl Scouts,” consider “Fundraising for Special Events – Girl Scouts.” That distinction can help you land an interview and result in a higher salary offer. – Need some ideas on how to spin your volunteer skills in a resume?… Send me a note and I’ll help! 

What do you have to lose? Donate your time and talent to a worthy cause. You will quickly see that you have everything to gain in the process. And a little good Karma will go a long way!   

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