Kick-Start Your Resume with Community Service

Serve others and boost your resume at the same time

BrandItBlueDay2014On Saturday, June 10, Express Employment Professionals offices across North America will gather together for Brand It Blue Day to help fill community food banks and pantries. The event is a day of service aimed to help in the fight against hunger, and you’re invited to join in.

Wondering why you might want to participate in something like this? Apart from the obvious reason of helping those who really need it, there are professional advantages as well.

1. Help Others

As noted by Feeding America®, 43.1 million people (13.5% of the U.S. population) were in poverty in 2015.  About 42.2 million lived in food-insecure households. That means over 13 million children went to bed hungry at some point that year.

Summer is the worst time for child hunger, as the school meal program ends for most kids. In 2013, more than 21.5 million children received free or reduced-price meals through their school programs and only 2.5 million of those children took part in summer food service programs. Volunteering allows you to make a real difference and help those kids get three meals a day.

2. Enhance Your Resume

Being involved in the community also shows potential employers that you have interests and goals outside of work. In other words, volunteering could help you land your next job.

As noted by Fortune, a 2016 Deloitte study of 2,506 U.S. hiring managers found that 82% of interviewers held a preference for applicants with volunteer experience. 92% said such activities built leadership skills. This was in sharp contrast to the mere 32% of applicants that mentioned unpaid volunteer work on their resumes. So, at the very least, add volunteer experience to your resume to help make you stand out above other applicants.

But why do employers find volunteer work so attractive? 85% of the interviewers found that skills-based activities, including those used during volunteer work, increased candidate communication skills, while 88% felt it built “strong character.” For those whose volunteer work didn’t use their professional skills, those numbers decreased slightly to 77% and 84%, respectively.

What else can volunteer work do for your resume? It provides an opportunity to master more skills. Take lessons learned in the workplace or college and develop those skills in rea-life situations. Maybe you’ve written mock strategic plans for a promotions management class, but never had a chance to put them into action. Or perhaps you film weddings for a living, but want to expand to other events.

3. Network

Networking can be challenging, especially when you’re at an event where everybody else is there to network as well. These events can be helpful, but they can be tiring.

Community service allows you to network in a much more organic way. Everyone is serving the same cause—nobody expects the newbie to walk in with a killer smile and an even more killer resume. If you work hard and make a good impression on others, they may pass on future job opportunities or serve as reference contacts.

In addition, continued nonprofit work for a particular cause lets you build a reputation in that area, allowing for future networking opportunities further down the road. You can also see how an organization functions and interact with people from all levels of the organization. If you’re interested in a nonprofit career, even better—these could be future co-workers after all.

Brand It Blue Day

If you’re looking for a cause to work with, consider Express’ Brand it Blue Day on Saturday, June 10! Check out the nearest participating Express office today.

In 2016, more than 235 Express offices and 1,000 volunteers from California to North Carolina to Canada came together at local food banks and pantries across North America to help fight hunger. Over the past four years, Express offices donated 300,000 meals to nonprofit organizations across North America through their efforts on Brand It Blue Day.

Has community service helped your career? Let us know how in the comments below!

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