By guest blogger Serena Piper
Journalism major at the University of Oregon. Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Oregon. Magazine, freelance blogger, future world traveler. In her spare time, she likes to read as many books as she can, go for long drives, and peruse news websites. Hopes to one day write for National Geographic.
Stop what you’re doing and check your resumé.
Is there a section devoted to your volunteer experience? If not, maybe you should think twice about what you have planned for this summer. A lot of students hesitate to volunteer if it’s not required for school, a scholarship, or, heaven forbid, paying off a debt to society. But there’s something you should know: it’s not only personally rewarding, but it matters more to employers than you may think.
In my previous post about volunteering, I mentioned my experience at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lane County, Oregon – and I can’t tell you how many opportunities I’ve snagged simply based off of this. Although listed at the bottom of my resumé, most employers have always asked about my experience at BBBS during the interview. BBBS has a lot of sponsors, so they have a ton of support what they do for at-risk youth. Keep in mind, this can be key to networking post-grad.
What volunteering says about you
Volunteering says that you are reliable and dedicated to showing up to the job even if it’s unpaid. Showing you care about your community says a lot about the type of person you are, so think about what you’re passionate about, and then find an organization that matches. Volunteerships are just like jobs: if you like what you’re doing, it doesn’t feel like work.
But volunteering is not all about what’s on your resume, either. I’ve made a lot of connections and friends I might not otherwise have made. Over the years, I’ve written numerous articles about BBBS, I’m constantly telling friends about volunteer opportunities, and I’ve even spoke to a room of 500 people at BBBS’ annual Fall breakfast about how mentoring has influenced my life.
If you’re feeling defeated and discouraged by how long it’s taking for you to complete your college degree, volunteering will give you immediate results every time you do it. If you volunteer at an animal shelter, you’ll see animals adopted every day; if you volunteer at a homeless shelter, you’ll dish out a meal the people you serve couldn’t be more grateful for.
In the end, volunteering isn’t just about donating your time. It’s about becoming a better person through generosity; giving your time to a person or place that could really use it, even though you have a million other things you could be doing. And it’s amazing how something seemingly so small can mean so much to someone else, but also be incredibly humbling.