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Volunteering, chicken soup for your career

woman holding box of donations for volunteer event

It's Good for your Soul and your Resume


Why you should volunteer

“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.” ― Winston S. Churchill

There is a wealth of benefits that come with volunteering. It’s more than just work. Oftentimes people mistakenly view it as a way of spending time. Good news! You aren’t spending time, you’re investing it. It’s participating in something that’s not just good for others’ well-being, but yours as well.

You’re helping lives, assisting great causes, and honing your skills and talents.

Not only are you helping others, but you’re also helping yourself. Everyone who’s flown in a plane knows the adage about putting the oxygen mask over your own face before assisting others. Volunteering is the embodiment of that.

Volunteering provides a unique opportunity to connect with people who share your values. And guess what? Volunteering has been shown to give you a sense of accomplishment and to increase feelings of happiness. It also helps with fulfilling needs of personal achievement. It’s a way to help you step out of your comfort zone and build new skills. Spending meaningful time with others can reduce stress. This has been shown to have several health benefits, including getting a better night’s sleep, boosting your immune system, and even preventing heart disease.

Why you should put volunteer work on a resume

Many people feel that volunteering should only be used where they have employment gaps. For example, when parents choose to stay home while their children are young or if someone recently graduated from school. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case.

Actively volunteering demonstrates to potential employers that you care for your community. It’s also a way to showcase various skills like problem-solving, financial acumen, and the ability to collaborate with others. You can also use it to exhibit your software proficiencies, like Raiser’s Edge (Donations), Quickbooks (Finance and Accounting), (Event Planning), and so much more. Also, when you volunteer, it’s usually in addition to an active lifestyle. Hiring managers will see that you’re well-rounded and adept at time management.

Volunteering speaks to your overall personality and character. It shows your willingness to roll up your sleeves and do some hard work for something more than money. Your personal currency is not just your paycheck, but the satisfaction and pride that comes from showing compassion and helping others.

How to put volunteerism on your resume

Great news if you’re not a rocket scientist … it’s NOT rocket science. You simply add it as you would any subject header on your resume. Include “Volunteer Experience” and list your work. You can include non-profit, community, school, church, or other projects. Be sure to use keywords to highlight the skills used for each: Chairperson, committee leader, special event planning, donor relations, bookkeeping, creative design, marketing, and any other skills you used relevant to the jobs you are seeking.

It's essential, just as you would in your work experience section, to include qualitative and quantitative metrics about your volunteer work. Examples include:

  • Raised $100K for cancer research by driving local community engagement on social media for charity event
  • Served as chairperson for yearly auction, secured 50 donations valued at $50,000. Auction proceeds valued at $150,000. ROI = $100,000
  • Organized a 5k run where proceeds went to a local animal shelter. Led and supervised 30 volunteers, 25 sponsors, 15 vendors, and 200 runners.

Volunteering is good for the community, great for your health, and excellent for your soul. And it can be loads of fun! It allows you to explore new interests and learn new skills. From meeting new people to discovering new things, it’s a wonderful way to expand your horizons.

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About System One

System One specializes in delivering integrated services and human capital management solutions within six strategic pillars: critical infrastructure, life sciences, legal, creative & digital, government, and technology. For more than 40 years, it built its reputation on exceptional talent, flexible delivery, and full accountability. System One is based in Pittsburgh, PA.

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