Every time The Boss comes home with "that look" in her eye (no, not THAT look -- that's for a different blog!) ... you know, the look that says "hope you like the smell of boxes and the rrrripping sound of packing tape, for here we go again," I think my decision to not work has been vindicated. Granted, some of these places we knew might only be for a short time on station, so I figured what's the point in trying to find employment (meaningful employment) just to get set-up and then move. So like many of you, I go the volunteer route. Most of the times, it's been in fields or in roles that I could never have gotten paid employment for it just wasn't my area of expertise. (West Texas boy on a big city Arts Council? YGBSM)
All along the way though I tried to keep a copy of my resume available, if in fact pigs did begin to fly and I was asked to interview for a job. But it just seemed that the more we moved and the more I volunteered, the more gapped and splotchy the resume became -- it looked bleak. What I hadn't done, was something that I recently read by author Janet Farley ... and after I smacked myself on the forehead and shouted, "I could have had a V-8" ... the bleakness began disappearing ...
Ms Farley in-part writes, "Market your volunteer experience on your resume!"
WHAT?? How can this be?? Take credit for ... volunteering?? YIKES! While having fun, I've been ... Working!?!?
She continues, "Whether you are new to volunteering or have made a career of it, give yourself due credit on your resume. How? Treat the unpaid job experience as you would any paid job; you worked and accomplished tasks for which you deserve credit. Be sure to keep track of your responsibilities and accomplishment so you can put them on your resume when and where applicable." "Quantify your accomplishments to give potential employers a better idea of what you actually managed. Indicate the number of people you supervised or show how much money you managed or earned for the organization. Numbers give others a better sense of exactly what you did and suggests the level to which you could be expected to work again."
It had never occurred to me that volunteering was indeed a set of tasks that I was accomplishing using guidance and instructions by and for an organization. All of us gain from having available a track record of our accomplishments as we move about -- so don't forget to keep names and phone numbers too. My resume just took on a new look and feel.
Are YOU taking the professional credit for your accomplishments when you volunteer? Do It -- and empower that resume!
Ms Farley -- Thank You! O&O, MaintenaceToadOne
REF: Jobs and the Military Spouse (Married, Mobile, and Motivated for Employment), (2nd ed.), Impact Publications