I finished high school, went to college, got a real job and continued to volunteer. I listed the experience on my resume. It was neatly packed under the title, Community Service, complete with volunteer titles and bullet pointed duty descriptions.
When I began searching for my next real job, I enhanced my Community Service section. I thought it would matter to employers to show that I’m involved in my community and that I can manage simultaneous roles in my private and professional life. I even listed the duties I was responsible for at the local humane society. After all, I had three years of experience cleaning cat and dog cages, socializing the animals and cleaning messy kittens! I didn’t volunteer to get gold stars on my resume, but I did think that having these items listed would help me to stand out from other candidates.
I nixed the volunteer experience in one application because I wanted to focus on adding other job skills. During an interview, I ended up talking about my humane society volunteering and the recruiter immediately lit up. She owned two cats that were from the same humane society! We talked cats for the next five minutes. I rocked that interview and we clicked on a personal level because of the volunteer experience. She asked me why it wasn’t on my resume so I added it all back on.
Fast forward to today. I’m on the other side of the interview table. I’m a recruiter. I review countless resumes each week. Because I volunteered, I look at the sections titled community involvement, volunteer positions, community work, etc. I love seeing people who have strong careers and make time to give back. I admit I’m a big fan of seeing Eagle Scout, Blood Donor, Rotary Club President and Jaycees Member. These candidates stand out. I spoke with a senior level manager this week who runs three separate local facilities and has over 50 employees reporting to him and yet still makes time to manage a youth baseball team, work for his local church and be the President of his Rotary club. That is an impressive set of qualifications.
Should community service be a considering factor in every position or just ones that would require community involvement? Should volunteering factor into interviewing and hiring decisions?
I would love to know what you think.
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