Pixel Tracker

Friday, February 22 , 2019, 2:50 am | Fair 42º

 
 
 

Karen Dwyer: Build Your Résumé Outside the Traditional 9 to 5

Volunteering is a great way to gain valuable experience and the right connections

Whether you’re looking to begin your career, switch careers, or you’re seeking employment due to a layoff, having a top-notch résumé is important for making a positive impression on a possible employer and landing you the job. To have a standout résumé, you don’t just have to build it in the workplace.

Karen Dwyer
Karen Dwyer

In a time where job uncertainty abounds, a great way to build your résumé is by volunteering your time for a good cause. Service and professional organizations depend on volunteers to get their jobs done, and they need individuals who have specialized skills and education. This is where you come into the picture. Although you may not get paid for the work you complete, you will gain valuable experience that can aid in your job search. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when pursuing this alternative résumé-building route.

Pick the Right Organization

To receive the full benefit of doing volunteer work and build your résumé with projects you are proud of, look for organizations that have meaning to you. For example, you might choose to get involved with Special Olympics if you want to work with special-needs individuals, or if you like to build houses, become involved with Habitat for Humanity.

For something directly related to your daily job functions, you could get involved with a local professional organization within your industry. The bottom line is, when you do something that you love and enjoy, it’s reflected in numerous ways through your work. This will help you stand apart from the crowd.

Pick the Right Position

Although what type of organization you volunteer for is important, it’s equally important to pick the right position. Whether you are just out of college or have been working for 25 years, there is something for everyone. If you’re just beginning your working career, seek an entry-level volunteer position. This will allow you to apply what you learned in school and give you the opportunity to shadow a professional in your field to gain more skills. Think of this as an internship.

If you’ve already been working for a while and are in a middle- or upper-level position with established skills, you may want to serve on professional committees or boards. These are avenues that depend on you for your ideas and abilities in order for the organization’s mission to be fulfilled. This will require you to take on more responsibility and project ownership, very similar to a work environment. Therefore, find something related to your background. For instance, if you have a creative background, seek positions in creative areas such as marketing or advertising, not accounting.

Develop Networking Connections

Volunteering is also a great way to build networking connections. If you’re serving in a volunteer group, focus on building a good working relationship with your manager, supervisor or project officer. If you’re serving in a leadership role, network with leaders in other groups to expand your professional search.

These individuals can serve as a reference for you in the future and recommend your work. Because of this, make it a point to always give 100 percent effort to your volunteer work rather than shrugging it off as something of no value — the value is not always tangible, but it is valuable nonetheless. In addition, know that when it comes to networking, everyone knows someone who knows someone. You’re developing relationships that are not only going to help you get your foot in the door somewhere, but also hold that door open for a little bit.

Building your résumé through volunteer work can be done easily. Just remember to select an organization you want to work with, find a position that relates to your skills, and always give it your best. Volunteering is a great way to show employers that you are well-rounded and give back to your community, but it’s also something that provides you with a satisfaction no one can take away — regardless of what the economy might be like.

— Karen Dwyer is owner of Express Employment Professionals, 9 W. Figueroa St. Click here to contact her or call 805.965.6900.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >