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Start building your career! Career Development & Experiential Learning Copyright © 2006, Department of Career Development & Experiential Learning Volunteer Experience = Work Experience Advertising skills obtained from volunteering
Development & Experiential Learning Copyright © 2006 Importance of Volunteering Outlet for natural talents, road-test for a new career, or handy way to network. Opportunity to develop new skills, expand horizons and help others Helpful for those with little practical experience in their chosen field.
Development & Experiential Learning Copyright © 2006 What You Gain Opportunity to build both “hard and soft” skills Information to develop your career path Ability to apply your academic knowledge to a practical experience Enhances your job-finding network by connecting to a hidden job market Start of career portfolio development Information about the world of work Work experience
Development & Experiential Learning Copyright © 2006 Common Misconceptions of Volunteering: Unpaid, so doesn't really count as work Irrelevant/not beneficial to my job search Not important, as only did it for a short period of time Not viewed as work experience
Development & Experiential Learning Copyright © 2006 Once volunteering ends… (some possibilities): Request documentation of service statement from a volunteer manager, program director, executive director, etc –may contain a position description, including title, duties and responsibilities; skills utilized and training received. –may also contain a brief evaluation of performance & overall contribution to the organization. Ask for letters of support & reference from volunteer placement –speaks to personal & work qualities such as dependability, punctuality, creativity, flexibility, etc. as much as to specific skills. –especially helpful if new to the job market. –help establish credibility as potential worker & can support personal qualities identified as important for particular position.
Development & Experiential Learning Copyright © 2006 Marketing volunteer experience in Resume/Cover letter: Should be integrated into main body of résumé Be specific as possible in identifying skills. –"Good communication skills" is broad; "excellent writing and editing skills" is not; concentrate on essential skills. Employers often look for general set of aptitudes & personality traits in addition to specific skills –i.e.: strong work ethic; ability to follow instructions; leadership ability; initiative; & reliability. List volunteer service under “Special Interests” or “Community Involvements” Demonstrate character traits such as motivation, commitment, and initiative. Don’t overlook unpaid work when compiling or updating resumes; –often tacked on at the end as an afterthought.
Development & Experiential Learning Copyright © 2006 Marketing volunteer experience in Resume/Cover letter: Allow resume to professionally showcase volunteer accomplishments and abilities Use "Professional Experience," not "Employment History" as a heading –broader phrase very nicely includes volunteer work. If volunteer position was f/t or ongoing, clearly note on resume –most employers will assume that volunteer work is very p/t, short- lived, and/or sporadic. Put volunteer experience in résumé's EXPERIENCE section -- not under Hobbies or Volunteer Experience. –Separating this experience sends a message that you don't consider this experience valuable professionally.
Development & Experiential Learning Copyright © 2006 Marketing volunteer experience in Resume/Cover letter: Volunteer experiences are valuable/viable opportunities for acquiring new skills & aptitudes…so talk about them in cover letter!! Employer want to see what skills/qualifications you have relevant to job/position; don’t hesitate to put all experiences to work for you Any networks gained thru vol. exp… use them to introduce the cover letter & résumé for consideration or informational interview A “Summary of Skills and Experience” is an area of the resume for volunteers to emphasize special skills, whether formally or informally learned. –List three to five bulleted points at either the beginning or end of the resume. –For example: "Proven motivational skills" or "Easily adapt teaching style to reach all age groups" or "Excellent organizational and project coordination skills."
Development & Experiential Learning Copyright © 2006 Example of volunteer work on a résumé: Applicant A (found at bottom of 2 nd page of résumé) Recreational volleyball SafeWalk Applicant B (found on 1 st page of résumé) Represented women's volleyball team in recreational community league. Developed team rosters and play schedules. Assisted with player and team registrations. Served on SafeWalk Advisory Team during Assisted in the recruitment of new volunteers. Assisted in preparation and implementation of volunteer training programs.
Development & Experiential Learning Copyright © 2006 Example of volunteer work on a résumé: Non-paid, non-traditional experiences should be written up just like paid employment. For example: Recreation Center Remodelling Project, Summer, 2000 Organized 120 community volunteers to paint the interior of XYZ Recreation Center. Solicited neighbourhood merchants for paint and supplies, including refreshments for all workers. Arranged for local artist to design and paint a mural on entryway walls. Contacted local newspaper and TV for press coverage.
Development & Experiential Learning Copyright © 2006 What about the interview? Volunteering should shine thru here as well; if you have the experience, talk about it Behavioural Descriptive questions seek answers from previous experiences & all aspects of life, extracurricular activities, work, ed., and volunteering… therefore: –talk about relevant activities and identify specific skills learned/utilized in volunteer position –if experience was meaningful, it will come across in the interview –share challenges, responsibilities & growth experiences Maximize references to use for this interview if asked; not just work related, but also volunteer supervisors can be great references
Development & Experiential Learning Copyright © 2006 Volunteering is…….. Relevant work experience is not limited to paid employment. Unpaid experience allowing development of new skills may be better indicator of ability to perform in new area, more so than paid employment in unrelated area.
Development & Experiential Learning Copyright © 2006 Thank You!!! Any questions please feel free to drop by, or call: Career Development & Experiential Learning UC
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