I see it all too often: a millennial applying for entry level positions, but have little applicable experience. This has become a challenge over the past years, as millennials are now sifting through endless job descriptions that state “two years of experience required,” and then the inevitable rhetorical question, “How do I get experience without being able to 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 applicable real world experience, while also making a difference and showing your devotion to your values as an individual. Volunteering doesn’t have to be completely selfless to be beneficial. Often times, volunteer coordinators are happy to get volunteers who can develop in their particular areas of interest, while also receiving the help they need. There are many different career opportunities available to you that can specifically fit your interest and career goals. This series will focus on four unique volunteering opportunities that will enhance your resume while improving the lives of those around you.
Every four years, there is a unique opportunity for the young professionals to take part in one of the most exciting demonstrations of a free democracy, while obtaining applicable experience for their resume. 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 can be a great way to obtain the required experience needed to land you that future job. I will highlight three great ways to volunteer in any upcoming elections that will yield a nice placeholder on your resume, and share with you a tip on how to improve your resume writing abilities
This is a great option for a student or young professional seeking a career in the local or federal government. Local election boards are the backbone of election day logistics, and require much more than setting up a voting booth. The local election boards are typically made up of a mix of bipartisan paid and volunteer staff who prepare all the mechanisms required to provide a seamless voting day. This is a great chance to seek out a volunteering or internship that can give you practical experience with government administration and regulations, project management, and direct experiences with the general public.
WHAT TO ADD TO YOUR RESUME
These are volunteering positions with great returns on investments, not only do you provide a classic American service, but you also gain practical experience to highlight on your resume. These types of positions are resume gold for young professionals with limited experience. Volunteering alone shows a strong commitment to your community, and gives you excellent bullet points for your resume. In this case, you could frame your experience as: “Routinely performing administrative tasks in a protocol-driven office environment,” and you could add that you “resolved consumer complaints in a professional manner.” Of course, you would need to create your own points, but this provides you with a framework of example of how volunteering can pay!
Skills obtained: Administrative Processes, Office Administration, Project Management
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. Volunteering with a political party can give you experience in an energized organization working towards aspirations that you care about. Whichever party it may be, they are all eager to receive your help! There are a variety of positions that can be tailored to fit your needs, it could be any of the following; calling donors, organizing events, or setting up signs throughout the area, and more. The added bonus of volunteering in such environments would be the networking potential, which could provide you contacts for a career position later. There is often a number of managers and HR professionals that are also volunteering with these campaigns, so say hello and get to know people!
EXPERIENCE FOR YOUR RESUME
Volunteering with political parties can demonstrate that you are a well-rounded and informed individual who is interested in and cares about their country. However, some candidates feel that placing a political affiliation on their resume could be risky. No problem! This can be avoided by simply writing “2016 President Campaign Team” to dance around the issue, but it should be noted that recruiters should not be taking what party you support into consideration. Instead, they will concentrate on the experience you obtained. The great part about these roles? You can tailor your volunteering experiences to the position you are applying for. For instance, “Coordinated public events,” “Managed volunteer teams,” and “Participated in diverse multicultural teams” would be some of the great ways to highlight your experiences.
Skills obtained: Event Planning, Customer Services Experience, Volunteer Management
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 and this opens the door for an exciting and direct customer service-centered volunteering experience. This opportunity will provide you a very active form of direct contact with potential voters: encouraging your fellow citizens to sign up to vote. The type of volunteering opportunity would be excellent for candidates who are outgoing or who want to overcome their fear of dealing with the general public.
EXPERIENCE FOR YOUR RESUME
Get Out the Vote gives you a chance to demonstrate your ability to positively interact with the general public in a challenging environment. This type of experience can transcend multiple career paths, as being able to interact with the general public in a positive light is a trait that is eagerly sought after by a variety of employers. These types of roles enable you to pitch experiences, such as “Encouraged potential voters to register to vote,” “Coordinated voter registration campaigns,” and “Participated in coordinated social media campaigns” would be some of the ways to spin your experiences to land you a job.
REAPING THE REWARDS
With the amount of applications a recruiter receives for an entry-level position, a university degree alone is not enough to stand out. That’s why volunteering is so important: it can give you applicable real world experience — and on a student’s or young professional’s 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 for volunteering, though, and political volunteering is just one way to make a difference while doing something you are passionate about. Along with experience, you should use every opportunity to network and develop contacts and references you can use later in your career. When it comes down to it, volunteering can pay, but you need to take the first step today to build a better future for yourself and others tomorrow.
If you’re wondering how to get involved in volunteer efforts that could help you land your next job, NobleHour can help. And if you’re curious about other ways volunteering pays, check out Part 2 of this series.
Since 2007, NobleHour has proven to be the volunteer management solution for organizations across the nation. With its robust online platform, NobleHour enhances community engagement with a variety of innovative and transformative tools for finding, tracking, and measuring volunteer, service‐learning, and community service initiatives. With offices in Lakeland, FL, and Portland, OR, the NobleHour team is dedicated to empowering good in communities across the country.
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.