Volunteerism on Your Resume
The International Travel Herald™
A Division of
International Publishing Group, LLC
Written by Rick Stoneking Sr. CEO
The Resume Section That Matters More Than You’d Think
Volunteerism on your resume. Why should this matter? I recently read an excellent article published by Time magazine. The title is “The Resume Section That Matters More Than You’d Think”, originally published by MUSE. Afterward, I wrote a short reply about this article.
We recently ran an ad for writers. Specifically, we were looking for writers willing to volunteer in helping us launch our new online travel magazine. So, after many vociferous comments, some quite vicious, I thought I would address this again. In this instance, the issue revolved around why our writer payment package did not include cash.
CEO’s should make sure their H.R. department considers this. I consider it a benchmark. Volunteerism tells you a lot about a person, and it should always be a factor in hiring.
Do You Really Want a Cookie-Cutter Resume?
In this case, I personally believe volunteerism is the most critical section of your resume. Here is why:
Let’s face it, every resume writer worth their salt is going to follow the Muse article’s guidelines. Indeed, many now make sure this is the standard cookie-cutter approach. So, how do you stand out when the decision maker or interviewer reads your resume, especially when everyone looks the same?
Volunteerism on your resume is critical in my view; indeed, how do you stand out from the sameness? How do you convey your worth beyond a skill set? To begin with, by showing initiative. So, how do you show initiative on a resume? In this case, by including a “Volunteerism” section.
Volunteerism Is Dead
Certainly, it is the saddest of times now that volunteerism is all but dead in the world, especially in the avarice-driven economy of the US. The negative remarks I’ve mentioned obviously show this, and they all are regarding our request for “volunteers” to write for us. I have left out some of the more vulgar, even vicious comments.
I do not work for free. What kind of scum are you to expect people to write for free? I am a professional, I do not work for free. You are just another user trying to make money off the back of hard working writers. I cannot pay my bills by doing free work.
First, the actual ad referenced above is for an article I wrote entitled: “Cash Is Not Always King for Writers“. Second, nowhere in the article did I say I wanted writers to write for free. However, that is apparently the perception conveyed by the word “volunteer” in people’s minds today. In fact, many people do not consider the intrinsic value in volunteering; they miss the exceptional opportunity to add to their skill set by doing something outside their normal “box”.
People Without Initiative Do Not Volunteer
Indeed, people without initiative do not become volunteers. They do not volunteer in their spare time, nor do they “make time” to volunteer. To them, as the comment above shows, volunteering is a waste of their time. They must be paid. Certainly, to them, there is no gain from volunteering. Thus, you hear from them, “I don’t work for free!” when asked about volunteering. That should scream “negative attitude” to you. Look for it!
Human resources administrators should look for volunteerism on the resumes of applicants. It helps weed out those who lack initiative. And, you can forget about asking this kind of person to “volunteer” for some office function, such as the menial task of helping decorate for a company party. Indeed, “What’s in it for me?” is all that these kinds of people care about. So, do you want this kind of worker? Certainly, I don’t! I will pass.
People Who Volunteer Show Compassion and Initiative
Consider people who do volunteer in their spare time: They show compassion and initiative. Obviously, these people “make time” to volunteer. They receive enrichment from doing so. Indeed, they are “keepers” for several reasons:
- First, they show initiative and compassion.
- Second, this kind of person demonstrates a willingness to go the extra mile.
- Third, they demonstrate care, concern, and commitment for people and things important to them.
- Of course, this includes their attitude toward their job.
As an example, as an HR administrator, you must compare two people with an equal skill set. So, which one would you prefer? The one with the “What’s in it for me?” attitude? Or, the one with the “How can I help you?” attitude?
Of course, those who make time to volunteer are the people you want to keep. All in all, their skill set may be less stellar than other applicants, but their attitude is better. Furthermore, their commitment makes them a better choice in the long run. It is an easy choice. At least, it is for me.
How to Keep Good Employees
Obviously, hiring the correct person in the beginning is key. However, keeping them is also a critical element. So, as a company, what is the best way to keep good employees? Here are some examples:
- First, by making sure they know their job is important.
- Second, they need to know that they are important to the overall success of the company.
- Third, they need to know that they are important to the company.
Without a doubt, when you hire people who make time to volunteer, you hire people who show initiative; and, they care about their job!
Hiring People Who Show Initiative
Why you should hire people who volunteer? Consider:
- Volunteerism tells you a lot about the kind of person you are about to hire.
- Consider what a person volunteers for, and why they do it.
- When you hire people who show initiative, they remain loyal.
- Volunteers tend to have better attitudes.
- Volunteers (people with initiative), appreciate having their position and are thankful for it.
- Their loyalty makes them stand out.
However, don’t make them feel like giving them their job was some kind of favor.
Hiring the Handicapped
Obviously, all of this is especially true of people who have handicaps; they are disabled, not dead. They are differently-abled. Furthermore, they have as much to offer as anyone else. Sometimes, they offer much more, for instance, quadriplegics can even contribute to the workforce with today’s technology. As well, a brilliant programmer who becomes disabled due to an accident of some kind is still valuable. Certainly, confinement to a wheelchair should not end a career or prevent someone from having a career. We must stop the hate when it comes to the disabled in the workplace. Disabled people are valuable workers. Disabled lives matter! Just ask me. Let’s get to work!
Eliminate Personally Identifying Information on Applications
For these reasons, I advocate not including personally identifying information on resumes or applications. Will this happen? Only if you, as an HR administrator, make it happen. Sadly, I doubt it will happen globally any time in the near future. However, why should we do so? Consider these seven reasons:
- First, it is the only way to truly level the playing field.
- Helps to ensure you truly hire the “best” employee.
- Everyone receives fair consideration.
- Ensures people receive consideration equally, based on their skill set.
- Eliminates external factors such as handicap, age, sex, gender, and race that play a role.
- It eliminates “sexual harassment” as a weapon later when the person just cannot make it with their skill set after using their appearance to get the job.
- It promotes hiring people who have far more to offer than simply a nice face or a sexy body.
Certainly, I hope HR departments will adopt this hiring approach. Adding volunteerism on your resume helps you to truly stand out among your competitors, and it shows your initiative. Indeed, HR departments should require an applicant to show volunteerism on their resume. It will make for far better companies. As a result, companies will get workers who have far more to offer than cookie-cutter skills. Do you agree? We want to hear from you. So, leave us a comment.
2 Your Success ™
Rick Stoneking Sr. CEO, Founder/Owner International Publishing Group, LLC ™ and International Travel Reviews ™. ITR is a Division of IPG located in Inverness, Florida
About the Author
Rick Stoneking Sr, is a retired, disabled, veteran and minister. He is the Founder/Owner of International Travel Reviews (ITR) — World Travel Writers And Photographers Group.
Rick’s writing spans over forty years. His published articles appeared in multiple genres in both Christian and secular circles. They include everything from police reports to a Christian eBook, to a year-long daily devotional series. Rick’s published articles and columns have appeared in recognized state and international magazines.
His expertise as Owner/Founder of International Travel Reviews resulted in the award of twenty-two Expert rankings by Klout.com
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