This article is part two of our ongoing series examining a variety of volunteer opportunities that provide real world experiences to advance your career. Volunteerism can take on a variety of forms and while relief organizations offer many unique opportunities, they are all equally rewarding. After the recent tragic news from Paris, I thought I would share a few volunteering opportunities that can make a difference domestically and abroad without leaving your hometown. I have personally volunteered with each of these organizations and all have played an integral part in establishing a rewarding international career.
UNICEF is a wonderful organization that assists children around the world with an emphasis on impoverished or endangered children. I first heard about their everyday acts of heroism and courage from the actor, Ewan McGregor. He passionately uses his star power to bring attention to the UNICEF mission. While you might not be able to just pack your bag and jump on a flight bound for Central Africa, don’t worry, UNICEF has developed numerous programs you can join locally to have a global reach. If you are an ambitious student seeking a challenge, then connect with a UNICEF volunteer coordinator to obtain more details about how you can start a local school-based UNICEF club. This will allow you to raise awareness while helping children in need all around the world! You can also tweet Ewan @mcgregor_ewan, using the hashtag, #UNICEF. Let him know all about the work your group is doing to support the organization’s efforts. He is famous for tweeting volunteers back!
Experience For Your Resume: (In continuation of the series, I will share with you a variety of ways you can frame your experience in your resume.)
UNICEF has countless opportunities to obtain applicable experience for young professionals or students requiring a flexible schedule. If you are seeking an international career, this organization can expose you to the inner workings of a large-scale non-governmental organization (NGO) while learning more about international culture and events. International experience is something that can give your resume the much-needed edge over the hundreds of other applications coming through a recruiter’s door.
Founded a UNICEF Chapter at XYZ School.
Coordinated donation drives and events on behalf of the local chapter of the U.S. UNICEF fund.
Raised $XX,XXX for the U.S. UNICEF fund.
Skills Obtained: International Relations, NGO Administration, Management
“International experience is something that can give your resume the much-needed edge over the hundreds of other applications coming through a recruiter’s door.”
American Red Cross (ARC)
This organization is close to my heart, as their volunteers go above and beyond during disasters. When I started my career, I was a firefighter. While on the scene of a house fire in the depths of winter, the American Red Cross pulled up and went to work. They immediately began making a difference with the family who had lost all their belongings, including their Christmas presents. They took the family to Walmart to obtain everything needed to go to work and school that Monday. The Red Cross also provided an amazing surprise. With an overwhelming charitable response lead by the ARC, the family received a large shipment of Christmas presents. Volunteers did all of this amazing work! Your local chapter of the American Red Cross has a variety of positions available to you today. Volunteer coordinators are keen to find opportunities that not only benefit their organization’s operations, but also you as a professional. Committed volunteers can also sign up for advanced classes allowing them to become instructors, as well as obtain certifications that can lead to a career within the industry.
Experience For Your Resume:
ARC has gained notoriety for the appreciation and development of their volunteers. Here are some ways volunteering with the American Red Cross can translate into beneficial points on your resume.
Taught 300+ students as the lead instructor in xyz class.
Provided disaster relief services to over 50 local families affected by house fires.
Represented the ARC on the regional disaster response council.
Coordinated outreach with local fire and EMS agencies.
Skills Obtained: Verifiable Training and Certifications, Organizational Policy Experience, Instructor Experience
Similar in scope to UNICEF, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) program has a much broader scope throughout the world. In fact, UNICEF is a subsidiary. The United Nations has a variety of highly sought after, and incredibly beneficial volunteer positions. Field positions often have age restrictions due to the nature of the posting, but online positions are open to a wide range of students and young professionals. United Nations volunteers have the unique opportunity to participate in a variety of projects throughout the world, without leaving the comforts of their home. The online projects range from graphic design and social media outreach to project management and advanced research. These opportunities support a myriad of UN-sponsored organizations that typically do not have the capabilities or the support staff to accomplish their goals, so they are in desperate need of your help. The brilliant part of online volunteering is the relevant information coordinators typically provide upfront, including the amount of hours required, job expectations, and how many people are involved in the project. This gives you the chance to choose tasks that fit your schedule.
Experience For Your Resume:
This opportunity is perfect for computer savvy professionals and students looking to make a difference utilizing their particular set of skills. With many of these projects, you will gain the unparalleled experience of coordinating and working with individuals from around the globe.
Authored three publications on behalf of the UNV for distribution to African Union (AU) officials.
Designed logos and marketing material for 20+ UNV sponsored organizations.
Managed multi-national administrative support teams for the XYZ initiative.
Skills Obtained: International Collaboration, Leadership Development, Career-Specific Experience
REAPING THE REWARDS
Each one of these organizations provide an excellent chance to assist those in need while obtaining unique experiences which will give you an edge when interviewing for your dream job. Often, these unique volunteering experiences can carry much more weight in interviews than a general hourly job. It is important to remember to find positions that will make you stand out in a group of hundreds of applicants. Acquiring years of experience with any of the above organizations is a great way to do this. As a Talent Acquisition Specialist, I am always looking for top talent to bring to my organization. When I volunteer, I constantly work to make new connections and discover ambitious and committed candidates that I can later recruit for my organization. So, while you’re volunteering to make the world a better place, don’t forget to also use every opportunity to network and improve your skills. There’s no time like the present! Get out and volunteer today!
Part III of our series examines volunteer opportunities in the exciting world of healthcare. Did you miss Part I in our series? You can check it out here: A Year of Political Campaigns.
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By NobleHour Special Contributor:
Taylor Bradley, M.A.
New York, NY
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 a volunteer for the United Nations, the Red Cross, and other related NGOs.