By Alison Binford, Senior Career Advisor, Career and Professional Development Services, ASU
There are many ways to demonstrate experience to a prospective employer. For example, the more engaged you are in classes, clubs, internships and jobs, the more experiences you can speak to on your resume or during an interview.
Another way to gain experience is through volunteering. Being of service is a great way to give back to your community, build your network and gain valuable experience to impress prospective employers.
How can volunteering be used as experience?
The great thing about volunteering is you can do it almost anywhere, and employers value it. Helping others by spending a few hours a week at your local food pantry, library, place of worship, school or hospital is incredibly rewarding and can also help you develop competencies for your professional career.
Maybe you will have an opportunity to use your conflict resolution skills or learn a new computer program that will grow your digital technology expertise. Perhaps you are placed with an organization that adheres to confidentiality standards which will improve your understanding of professionalism and ethics. These are just a few examples of the types of topics you might discuss during an interview or document on a resume to show how the experience has assisted in your professional development.
How can I find volunteer openings?
There are always opportunities for to be of service. Here are some strategies to finding the right one for you:
Visit volunteermatch.org and search for local volunteer opportunities specific to your interest
Get involved on campus with a club, student organization or department for information on how members can volunteer. For example, the Make Your Impact Organization at ASU regularly takes part in service and volunteering, including during Changemaker’s Days of Service
Visit local organizations to see if they have a volunteer program. Most nonprofits, hospitals, libraries, animal shelters, museums, sporting venues and schools have opportunities for community members to volunteer. Introduce yourself and start getting connected
Reach out to your friends and family to see if anyone in their network has opportunities for volunteering
Consider adding the Peace Corps Prep Certificate. This certificate combines sector-related coursework with relevant service opportunities to help students gain the knowledge and skills needed to be competitive for the U.S. Peace Corps
Other helpful resources:
Click here to access a resume example that utilizes volunteer work as valuable experience. Get connected with Changemaker Central for ways to get involved and volunteer. Finally, follow up with an advisor on Handshake to get advice on how to showcase your new skills during the job search process.