When you think ahead to graduation, does that proverbial employment catch-22 ever worry you? You know, the whole “you can’t get a job without experience and you can’t get experience without a job?” Here is the best solution to breaking that vicious cycle: volunteer!
You can bolster your resume right now while you are in school. I know you are busy—you are registered for a full-time class load, you are working a 20-hour-per-week job, you have church calling responsibilities, and you definitely don’t want to miss out on the social life aspect of your BYU experience. Volunteering can be as little as 2 to 3 hours per month.
The Y Serve office (2330 WSC & 2010 WSC or https://yserve.byu.edu/) is a great resource and they make it so convenient. Get together with your roommates, home evening group, or make it a date night with a group of your friends. There are so many opportunities to volunteer within the community and there are so many different categories to choose from—all volunteer roads do not lead to the TOPS (Tutor Outreach Provo Schools) program … although it is a great program, just not for everyone. It is important to find the one that works best for you.
Here are just five ways volunteer experience can fill in the ‘holes’ in your resume and supplement your undergraduate degree:
1) Discover your passion and determine the right career choice for you
2) Gain experience in an organizational setting
3) Develop new skills
4) Build your network
5) Make connections between coursework and how it applies to the real world
When referring to the benefits of volunteer experience, Dorothy Graham (Career Expert @ Bellevue University) said the following. “Now, this doesn’t mean that you should volunteer for purely career/personal gain. The key to a successful experience is to find an organization or cause that you truly believe in. Then look for ways you can use your skills and experience to help the organization achieve its objectives. That makes it a “win-win” situation—and could even lead to a job offer with the organization itself.”
Of course I think internship experience should be a high priority for every BYU undergrad, but you do not have
to register for internship ‘credit’ for your volunteer experiences to benefit you. Just look for opportunities to get involved, and then if you stick with it, you will have more and more opportunity to increase your responsibility and your positive impact on the world (and it will strengthen your resume along the way)!
(See a new volunteer opportunity available at the local Food Bank under the “Internship Opportunities” tab at the top of this page.)