Six Ways to Elevate Your Resume through Volunteer Experience

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Many refer to our resumes for our professional experience for a role. However, there is still plenty more that our resumes can tell about what we offer as a candidate. Employers seek a candidate that is a good fit for the role. Oftentimes, this includes a well-balanced repertoire of relevant skills and experience that can span within our professional experience and outside of it. Here are some suggestions on how to elevate your resume to employers through volunteer experience. 

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Giving Back

Volunteering is a great way to show that your passion and personality extends outside of the workplace. There are opportunities where you can offer your time and energy to help with volunteer causes. There are also opportunities where one can use you experience, resources and network in mentorship- or leadership-based roles. 

Be a Consistent Volunteer

Reflect on what types of causes interest you. Whether it’s a cause that resonates within you or a cause that personally affects you, there is a volunteer effort that needs your services. Some of the most traditional volunteer efforts are volunteering with soup kitchens, animal shelters or park clean-ups. Well-known longer-term volunteer programs include Doctors without Borders (which offers a tax-deductible stipend) and Habitat for Humanity (which offers local efforts, as well). If you want to lead a volunteer effort at work, Rescuing Leftover Cuisine welcomes volunteers to pick-up unused food from businesses and deliver them to shelters in need. 

Serve as a Mentor

Another way to volunteer your time is to offer your experience being a mentor. Mentorship can span many audiences in need. For example, StreetWise Partners seeks mentors to help unemployed or underemployed individuals with resume and interview assistance. Girls Who Code aims to close the gender gap in the tech field and seek mentors to hold classes for young girls. 

Serve on a Non-Profit Committee or Board

Many non-profit organizations seek help from those that can provide their skills, network, resources and leadership experience. Serving on a committee often means helping to organize efforts to support their cause. Roles can include helping to plan a gala or a crowdfunding effort (i.e. a walk-a-thon or a color run). Serving on a board means providing leadership to help guide these efforts towards reaching the fundraising goal. Oftentimes, these experiences will give exposure to different skill sets, such as sponsorship acquisition, financial planning, networking, marketing and more. There are websites, such as VolunteerMatch and BoardServeNYC that can help connect to opportunities to serve on a board.  

Get Involved in School Activities

If you want to start volunteering your time and effort locally, your school is a great place to start. While CUNY SPS is an online campus, much of the student life activities occur offline. 

Volunteer for Events

One of the CUNY SPS staff members, Anthony Sweeney, serves the students as the Associate Director of Student Life. With his efforts, events such as the Annual Spring Reception come to life, with opportunities available to help with the event. Additionally, the CUNY SPS Commencement Ceremony needs volunteers to help make the proud day for graduates a success. For opportunities to volunteer for such events, reach out to Anthony.Sweeney@cuny.edu.

Contribute to the School Paper

If you have writing or editing skills or are interested in integrating journalism into your skill set, put them to work at CUNY SPS’ student-run newspaper. The Kiosk, is always looking for writers, editors and photographers. There are plenty of opportunities to utilize other different skill sets, as well, whether it’s website design, social media marketing or writing. In addition to volunteering to write, edit or photograph, the Kiosk also offers plenty of partnership workshops that can help improve your skill set. One of the journalism workshops series, A NewsHound’s Guide to Student Journalism, is hosted by the CUNY Dateline chief editor, Katina Paron. To get involved, contact kiosk@sps.cuny.edu.

Run for Government

One of the most notable ways of adding leadership experience to your resume is by getting involved with the CUNY SPS student government. The student government advocates for the students’ interests. Some issues include finding ways to increase funding, grants or scholarships for students in need, finding the best ways to utilize the student fees towards efforts that matter to us or other important student body decisions. The student government representatives include such roles as editors, officers and delegates. To get involved, contact studentservices@sps.cuny.edu.  

No matter the skills, experience or availability that you have, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities that you can get involved in that fit your needs and passion. Each opportunity offers something different but ultimately offers a great addition to your resume to show your potential employers that you are a well-balanced, passionate and skillful candidate. 

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2 thoughts on “Six Ways to Elevate Your Resume through Volunteer Experience”

  1. So many smart ideas! One of the concepts we talk about during career advising sessions is “networking without networking.” I would categorize all of the pointers you wrote about as just that. Also, shameless plug: remember that the office of Career Services here at CUNY SPS is here to help with resumes, among other things career-related.

    1. Thank you for your shared thoughts Shannon; we encourage shameless plugs to let students know what services are provided at SPS to help them with their goals!

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