Photo by Jessica Bartlett
By: Audree Hernandez
For many people, volunteering requires extra effort and an open heart. When you think of volunteering you may think of how it benefits only the person in need. In reality, as a volunteer you build leadership skills and gain real-life experience.
High school students who seek a higher education are advised on how hours can help obtain scholarships and make outstanding applicants. Though the advice is helpful, it brings a negative connotation about volunteerism, as if only people pursuing college volunteer. Volunteering will always benefit you no matter where you are in life. It can also help people branch out of their career by building connections with others in and out of the community. Volunteer opportunities can allow people to meet non-profit partners, local businesses, or other community members that may become close friends or create a closer relationship with their local area. People feel that they have more of a purpose when they understand how they belong to their community. In addition to a feeling of purpose, you can also develop a newfound passion and appreciation for volunteering. How can you feel bad about positively impacting your community? Volunteerism teaches you how to problem solve and be a team player. It can even turn people into leaders. You can develop on hand communication skills through constant acts of kindness.
Let’s assume you don’t have much work experience on your resume. A good way to supplement that blank spot is to talk about your experience as a volunteer. In public relations, some volunteer opportunities revolve around event and people management. These skills are also needed when you work with clients. Let’s say your resume shows many part-time jobs to pay your way through college, but you may lack campus involvement. Some interviewers just want to see how much you can handle. You may be seen as unqualified to handle stressful workloads if a handful of students can balance the time commitment and financial burden of other college commitments such as social fraternities on top of a full-time course. Programs on Chico State’s campus like C.A.V.E., L.E.A.D., F.L.O., or A.S. can act as internships in which you volunteer and connect to local residents and students in a unique way. Make your personality and resume stand out by showing you put extra effort into your personal development. Volunteering makes it easy to share your experience, build your confidence and gather well-rounded knowledge on just about everything while still helping your future career.
“Make your personality and resume stand out by showing you put extra effort into your personal development. “
When the time comes to apply for jobs in your industry you may come to realize that companies over share the values of volunteerism in their work environment. For example, Forbes talks about how Salesforce uses their beautiful 61st floor for philanthropy events instead of general company uses. Other companies like Target and Kohls are famous for their employee volunteer efforts in their store communities. When filling out applications for your future job doing research on the place is a necessity, so if you can mold your resume and experience to fit company values such as those, you’ll be more prepared than the next guy.
I had about one thousand volunteer hours in high school. When I came to Chico State, I decided to use my volunteer involvement as a way to build a portfolio. I worked with CAVE for two years, working my way up from a PR intern to the marketing coordinator. I helped promote national events such as Make a Difference Day in Butte County. One opportunity led to another and I was able to lead and be a part of other public relations teams on Chico State’s campus like the Journalism department’s public relations agency, Tehama Group Communications, and the school’s student-run newspaper, The Orion. My resume has grown over the years and a good majority was given thanks to volunteerism.