Landing that first job after graduation can be a challenge, even when unemployment is low. Here’s a valuable piece of advice: make sure volunteer experience is part of your résumé.
Lancaster County employers see countless job applications throughout the course of the year. “An important component The Lancaster Chamber always looks for is community involvement,” said Cheryl Irwin-Bass, The Lancaster Chamber’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “Employers want to attract well-rounded individuals to their workforce. Good grades and intern experience are certainly paramount, but a student’s commitment to community service is also key.”
Indeed, volunteering is a very rewarding experience in itself. It is a great way to generate positive impact in your community, help others in need, and improve overall happiness. However, many don’t realize that volunteering can also be the key to landing your next job. Volunteer experience strengthens your résumé and provides that extra boost other candidates may not have.
Experience is vital in today’s job market, and volunteering could be a path to gaining the experience you need. Having volunteer projects and roles on your résumé will show potential employers your initiative, willingness to try new things, community involvement, and dedication. If you are a recent college graduate that doesn’t have much work experience, highlighting your volunteer experience in a skills-oriented way is a great approach to take. Plus, there’s a breadth of volunteering possibilities. At any given time you may find a chance to engage in fundraising, healthcare, marketing, childcare, administrative work, and much more!
Another great outcome of volunteering is expanding your contact network. Volunteering puts you in a position to meet potential mentors and learn about job opportunities in your desired field. Don’t miss out on a great chance to network and grow professionally while doing good work for your neighbors in Lancaster County.
So what are you waiting for? Expand your résumé and skills by searching for volunteer opportunities at www.UWLanc.org/VolunteerCenter.
Here are some current chances to get involved in the community that could also be a great connection:
- Mom’s House of Lancaster has many volunteer positions available. They are looking for Teacher’s Assistants for their daycare program, volunteers to cook lunches for the kids, light maintenance and landscaping help, and experts in their field to teach to moms in the program about car maintenance, résumé writing, budgeting, etc. Please consider taking a few hours a week to help the kids and moms at Mom’s House Lancaster. Please contact Sara Moyer at Sara.Moyer@MomsHouseLancaster.org for more information or to sign up.
- Thanks to the community’s generosity, The Lancaster County Reach Out and Read Coalition has stacks and stacks of books to share with new readers. Volunteers are needed to sort, label, and organize the books. This is a vital function, making sure the books get to the appropriate age groups. To get involved, contact Katie Kramer at Info@RORLancaster.org or call (717) 299-6372, ext. 12217.
- The Literacy Council of Lancaster-Lebanon has opportunities for volunteers to get involved as English as a Second Language Tutors for classes held in Lancaster. Classes are on-going, so a minimum of one year commitment is required. Classes will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday nights 6:00pm-7:30pm. If interested, please contact Jane Myers at Jane@GetLiterate.org or by calling (717) 295-5442.
- Bridge of Hope Lancaster & Chester County is seeking a handy man or woman volunteer for on-going light office maintenance. Duties would include light bulb changes, ground keeping, and minor repairs as needed. If interested please contact Jaleen Leon at our office at JaleenL@BridgeofHopeLCC.org or call (717) 394-7707.
- Tabor Community Services is looking for volunteers to distribute Elder Share Food Boxes. Volunteers will meet the Central PA Food Bank truck at Marietta Senior Apartments on the second Monday of every month at 8am. From there volunteers will distribute boxes to seniors all over the county! Volunteers must be able to lift 50 pounds, be willing to drive from Marietta to Lancaster, Lititz, and Ephrata, and be able to use a dolly or hand truck. The volunteer’s vehicle should have room for at least 11 boxes measuring 15.5” x 11.5” x 11.5”. Training from the USDA will be provided. If you are interested, please send an email to ALinkley@TaborNet.org.
Nonprofit organizations in Lancaster County are encouraged to publish volunteer needs in this column. For a copy of submittal guidelines, or if you have questions about volunteering in Lancaster County, contact United Way’s Volunteer Center at (717) 824-8122 or email Volunteer@UWLanc.org.
Brandon Engle is the Volunteer Center Manager at United Way of Lancaster County. For over 90 years United Way has been helping dedicated volunteers, passionate advocates, and generous contributors make change happen in this community. Focusing its Community Impact Fund investments on four bold goals that address the underlying causes of the County’s most serious problems, United Way and its supporters create lasting change in Lancaster County. When we LIVE UNITED, we achieve results that no single sector could accomplish alone.