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  • Lori A. Jazvac

Community leadership: the value of donating your time

When it comes to resume writing, non-paid activities such as volunteering, can often get cast aside in favour of paid experience. It's common to place paid experience higher on the scale of importance. But we must not underestimate the immense value of volunteering in all arenas.

Rather, high-quality, strategic resumes need to emphasize skills-based volunteering. Volunteering is an effective resume experience builder that can equally serve as a powerful vehicle that impacts the volunteer, organization, and the community as a whole. Volunteering is not only significant for those in career transitions or new graduates or scholars, but professionals of all walks of life.

This week, from April 10th through April 16th marked National Volunteer Week – a special time set aside to honour the people who donate their time and energy to their fellow citizens for a meaningful cause or community project.

On April 16, The Hamilton Spectator cited that more than half of Canada’s 161,000 non-profit and charitable organization rely exclusively on volunteers. This shows the relevance and existential meaning that volunteering can deliver in sustaining an inspiring vision and mission of an organization. It is reported that ‘12.7 million volunteers contribute approximately 2 billion hours annually’ through their diligent efforts and innovative ideas, we can understand the great impact on improving the quality of life for others.

As a resume writer, I always ask my clients about their volunteering or community leadership experience. In fact, a great deal of achievements, milestones, and skill development evolves from valuable community leadership. Career related gaps can be addressed through volunteering. Employers value professionals with active volunteering experience because they show important community leadership skills.

The next time you are considering to remove your volunteering experience from the resume, reconsider the fact that many strategic goals and milestones have been met or exceeded while positively transforming the lives of others through volunteering.

Volunteering can involve serving food at a food bank, fundraising, administrative support, reading to senior citizens, or planting a beautiful community garden. It can also mean donating your time to promote awareness on an important cause for an organization that you strongly believe in. At any rate, volunteering makes a vast difference in those being served and builds a brighter future for our community.

Thank you to all the volunteers out there for serving as positive champions of change. Together, we build relationships and change lives one day at a time.

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