Volunteer to Career - Applying Meaningful Service to Your Resume

A Year of Political Campaigns

By: NobleHour Special Contributor Taylor Bradley

I see it all to often - Millennials with little applicable experience applying for entry level positions. This has become quite a challenge over the past few years, as young adults now sift through endless job descriptions stating: “two years of experience required.” It’s a frustrating situation for those entering the workforce. How do you get the experience needed if you can’t get the job? Well, there is a simple way to enhance your resume while making a difference in the world. Volunteer!  

Volunteering can be a great way to obtain significant real world experience, while serving your community and showing your commitment to your values as an individual. Volunteering doesn’t have to be completely selfless to be beneficial. Volunteer coordinators are often happy to receive help from people who want to develop a particular area of interest. There are many different career options available that can specifically fit your interests and professional goals, but you need to take the first step. In this four part series, I will focus on unique avenues to enhance your resume while improving the lives of those around you. 

2016 Election

Every four years, there is a unique opportunity for young professionals to gain applicable, relevant experience by taking part in one of the most exciting demonstrations of our free political democracy. These campaigns take place on a national level and require volunteers to carry out anything from administrative tasks to managing Donald Trump’s hair styles! The possibilities are endless, and this can be a great way to obtain the required experience needed to land you that future job. I will highlight three creative ways to volunteer in the 2016 elections that will yield a nice placeholder on your resume, and will also share tips on how to improve your resume writing abilities. 

How do you get the experience needed if you can’t get the job?

1. Go Local

This is a great option for a student or young professional seeking a career in government. Local election boards are the backbone of election day logistics, and involve much more than setting up a voting booth. Election boards are typically made up of a mix of bipartisan paid and volunteer teams that prepare all the required mechanisms needed for a seamless day of voting. This is the perfect opportunity to seek out volunteer positions or internships that can give you practical experience with government administration and regulations, project management, and direct experiences with the general public. If you are looking for a role in local government or general administration, this volunteering option allows you to network with government officials. These connections could be used as references or might even help you land the perfect job in the future.  

Experience For Your Resume: (In these sections, I will provide the basics of how to effectively incorporate your volunteering experience into your resume.)

Volunteering shows a strong commitment to your community and gives you excellent content for your resume. While you need to create your own individual bullet points for each particular position, the examples below provide the framework of how volunteering can pay with this working experience:

  • Routinely performed administrative tasks in a protocol driven office environment.
  • Resolved consumer complaints in a professional manner.
  • Coordinated and planned interagency events.

Skills Obtained: administrative processes, office administration, project management. 

2. Pick A Party

This is a bipartisan article, which means I am not going to pick a side, but that doesn’t mean you can’t! All political parties are eager to receive your help! Volunteering for a political party can give you experience in an energized organization working for causes important to you. There are a variety of positions that can be tailored to fit your needs, including calling donors, organizing events, or setting up signs throughout the area. The added bonus of volunteering in such an environment is the networking potential. Important contacts made here could prove beneficial for possible future positions in your career. Managers and HR professionals often volunteer with these campaigns, so say hello and get to know people! Ultimately, you want to show you are a well-rounded individual with conviction who stays connected with current events.

Experience For Your Resume:  

Avoid writing politics into your resume. Keep it focused on the experience you obtained as a professional. A simple way to dance around political affiliation is to simply write “2016 Presidential Campaign Volunteer.” Here are a few ideal ways to highlight your responsibilities and tailor them for the specific position you desire:

  • Coordinated public events. 
  • Managed volunteer teams.
  • Participated in diverse multi-cultural teams.

 Skills Obtained: event planning, customer service experiences, volunteer management.

3. Get Out The Vote

If you are not interested in local government or a specific party affiliation, this is the way to go. Get Out The Vote campaigns are designed to get Americans engaged with democracy by encouraging your fellow citizens to sign up to vote. This volunteer position opens the door for an exciting and direct customer service centered experience. It’s an excellent option for employment candidates that are outgoing or for those who want to overcome their fear of engaging with the general public. 

Experience For Your Resume:

This type of experience can transcend multiple career paths. It allows you to demonstrate your ability to positively interact with the general public in a challenging environment, a trait that is eagerly sought after by a variety of employers. Here are a few examples of how you can emphasize the skills gained to help you land a great job:

  • Encouraged potential voters to register to vote.
  • Coordinated voter registration campaigns.
  • Coordinated social media campaigns.

Skills obtained: community outreach, customer service, effective teamwork. 
 

Reaping The Rewards 

Considering the number of applications a recruiter receives for an entry-level position, a university degree alone is not enough to stand out. This is why volunteering is so important. It can give you relevant real world experience even on a student or young professional friendly schedule. Being able to demonstrate a continued commitment to your community and your values outlines your strength as a highly qualified candidate. There are endless possibilities to volunteering. Each one has the potential to yield a high return on investment. Political volunteering is just one way to make a difference by demonstrating your passionate commitment to a meaningful cause. Along with gaining experience, remember to also use every opportunity to network and develop contacts and references that you can use later in your career. When it comes down to it, volunteering pays it forward in many ways, but you need to take the first step today to build a better future for yourself and others.

Be sure to read the second and third installments in our series: Volunteer to Career - Applying Meaningful Service to Your Resume. We'll focus on Domestic & International Relief and Healthcare.

Are you ready to find meaningful volunteer opportunities? Sign up for your free NobleHour account today to get started!

Taylor Bradley is an International Talent Acquisition Specialist. He enjoys writing and sharing his experiences, successes, and failures as a young professional for the betterment of others. Taylor is actively pursuing a second degree in HR Management. He has traveled to all 50 states and approximately 45 countries, many of which he visited as volunteer helping the United Nations, the Red Cross, and other related NGO's.