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Volunteering: selfless or smart? Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Samantha, Canada Oct 27, 2009
Education   Opinions


Volunteering: selfless or smart? Volunteer work is often seen as a selfless activity. What people sometimes don’t realize is just how important volunteer work is and how helpful it can be, not only to the communities/ individuals being helped, but also to the volunteers. Volunteers gain valuable experience that can often be the key to getting their next job. Volunteer work can be an opportunity to develop new skills and experience in areas in which you may not have been able to gain employment, opening up new realms while enriching lives.

Something that more people need to do is to begin incorporating their volunteer experience into their resumes. Make sure to highlight not only your education and paid work, but also the unpaid work you have done. The fact that it was unpaid does not take away from the value of the experience gained. Incorporate a section entitled “Volunteer Experience” into your resume, or try a “Combination” resume, using skill sets to emphasize what you are best at, and describe paid and unpaid work in each skill set. This enables potential employers to see what experience you have from all types of work, not just the formal paid positions you have held. This can make all the difference when applying for jobs!

For example, while volunteering in rural Ecuador for 3 months, I gained valuable experience working in a foreign country and gained experience in teaching, environmental research, and community development. I learned a new language, learned how to cope with stress, learned intercultural skills, and so much more. When looking for my next job in the field of international development, it was this volunteer work that gave me an edge over other candidates. I secured several jobs in large part because of this experience. One of these jobs was an overseas internship, which enabled me to gain even more experience in the professional field of my choice. What I have learned from this and other similar experiences is that what you have done is what is important, not whether or not you were paid for that work.

My volunteer work has not only enabled me to enrich my resume and find better jobs, it has enabled me to become knowledgeable and experienced in areas in which I would never have been able to gain employment in with experience. You’ve heard of the age-old problem: you can’t get the job without experience, and you can’t get experience without a job. Well, volunteer work is the way to solve that problem. Even if it’s only for a couple of hours a month while you are working full time to pay the bills, volunteer work enables you to gain experience in new areas.

Most importantly, volunteering can help you grow emotionally, learn about a wide variety of issues, and help you become a better person. Volunteering with the homeless, the poor and the disadvantaged can remove stereotypes, help you to understand others better, and teach you that there is so much to learn, not only from teachers or professors, but also from the individuals that surround you every day. As a volunteer you will learn, grow, and become a better person. Finally, you will feel great knowing that you have helped someone or committed to a worthwhile cause, not for a paycheck, but just to be able to help.



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I am a Canadian who is passionate about helping others. I do international development work in Canada and Latin America, and am always trying to find ways to make a difference in the world.

You and your associates !
Timothy G. Branfalt Sr. | Dec 15th, 2009
Mt heart and soul is with you in everything you do. Your actions, indeed speak greater than any words that anyone may say. You will be blessed with eternal Love!

A great job
Adika sunday king | Jan 9th, 2010
thats a great job u are doing and only God almighty can reward you ultimately, only never relent even when challenges come as they will definitely come

Chantelle Ennis-Charoo | Jan 12th, 2010
I agree, that volunteering puts back positive in a world so heavily plagued by negatives and it gives you a great feeling to know that "hey I've done something (however small) and its helping for the greater good :)

Teffera | Feb 1st, 2010
Naturally we are born to live in harmony,in this world we are ONE family and descendant of ONE, the only ONE supreme creator of the universe ,we are created to DO GOOD,the result of DOING GOOD is all ways GREATER THAN VERY GOOD . SO LETS DO GOOD!

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