Friday, June 19, 2015

From Volunteer to Career

This post was written by Tammy Carlson, human resources director for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast.

"Volunteers aren’t paid, not because they are worthless, because they are priceless." —Anonymous

I recently met someone and asked, “What do you do?” They responded, “I’m just a volunteer.” They then proceeded to share the myriad of positions they hold. I was overwhelmed with the amount of commitment and responsibility of this one person. Just a volunteer?!?! My mind was racing with the experience this volunteer was acquiring. I stated they must have an impressive resume with all that experience and they replied, “I don’t list volunteering on my resume.” What! Why!

As a human resources director, I’m looking for EXPERIENCE. However, notice I didn’t say paid experience. Experience can come in many forms: education, previous employment, training, and especially volunteerism.

Volunteerism is a great way to gain skills that will assist or advance with your career exploration. Looking for skills in the field of education consider a troop leader or series advisor position. Interested in finance, product sales or troop finances is for you. Find something you love to do!

Here are some quick things you can do to maximize your volunteer experience:
  • Find the right volunteer position. If you are not in the right position, try something else.
  • Treat your volunteer experience as a job—remember it is! Be on time, don’t overcommit, and be professional.
  • Lead, lead, lead!
  • List your volunteer title and duties on your resume. Don’t bury it at the bottom. Have a category called experience that includes both paid and unpaid history. 
  • Don’t just list experience, list results: lead a troop of XXX girls, managed XXX troop accounts, coordinated product sales resulting in XXX of sales.
  • Know you are valuable. The current value of a volunteer is $23.07 per hour!
Try these few things and you will quickly move from volunteer to career!

"We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give." -Winston Churchill

Tammy Carlson will be facilitating free workshops on how to use your volunteer experiences to grow professionally this fall. She will provide tips on building your resume and getting the most out of your volunteer experience to find a great job. The workshops will take place:

Saturday, August 22 at Great Bridge United Methodist Church in Chesapeake
Saturday, September 19 at Church of the Holy Family in Virginia Beach
Saturday, October 10 at Shiloh Baptist Church in Yorktown

Registration for each workshop is required. More information can be found here.