Volunteering can boost your CV – and make you feel good
After earning his undergraduate degree in Latin American Studies at Oberlin College, Richard Morales was aiming for the job of his dreams – at El Museo del Barrio in East Harlem, a Latin American cultural institution, but he found himself in dead ends.
“I applied to work there, but never got a response,” he said. “So I thought one way to get my foot in the door was to volunteer. Being the persistent New Yorker that I am, I called them over and over until I had a real human being on the phone. Eventually they called me back and we started talking about the job.
He landed an unpaid job in 2013, registering people for events and creating an organized system, with the game plan of working hard and doing the best job possible.
“I thought to myself that I will show you my work ethic, what I am capable of, how I work, how I interact with the public and with the staff and always putting my best face forward, than this either or not a volunteer role. “
Morales simultaneously juggled three paid part-time jobs until 2015, when the museum approached him with a full-time job offer.
“Two of the three people I met during my interview, I had worked on a voluntary basis,” he said. “It’s really important to do what you can to make a good impression. You don’t know who will be [on] the other side of the table. It might be the same person you worked with. Rumor can circulate about who you are.
Morales was hired as an Education and Public Programs Assistant and worked there until 2018, when he left for his current position as Director of Cultural Programs at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Community Center. Greenwich Village Transgender.
Here, he directs the artistic and cultural programming, also relying on the support of volunteers. He uses the skills he has learned from volunteering at the museum to ensure that there are enough volunteers at the community center and that they are clear about their roles.
Simon Mainwaring, founder and CEO of We First, a strategic consulting firm and author of “Lead With We: The Business Revolution That Will Save Our Future” (Matt Holt), said many people like Morales are taking advantage of the volunteering to get your foot in the door, giving back while making connections and learning skills.
“Some will want to get their hands dirty on the pitch and others will bring their expertise or their time behind the scenes,” Mainwaring said. “Some might choose to focus on a specific cause, faith, or type of volunteering and others will serve more broadly. Either way, volunteering is a powerful way to physically, mentally and viscerally experience the contribution you make to others.
As a volunteer, Mainwaring said there was a discovery of alignment between “who you are and how you present yourself in the world”. It can open up a new path in your career and improve your mental health during times of stress.
For Antonia Donato, a senior account executive at public relations firm RLM PR in Midtown East, volunteering has filled a void in her previous job.
Ten years ago, she started volunteering for Dress for Success, a global non-profit organization that empowers women to gain economic independence by providing a support network, professional clothing and tools. development to thrive. For a few hours each month, Donato honed his empathy and listening skills.
“Dressing them for an interview gave me the people skills I needed to thrive in public relations,” she said. “There’s not much to gain by going to Fashion Week or writing a press release. I needed a real world experience that gives me a more human approach.
Donato volunteered for eight years. “While I was teaching [workshops] helping women, I was learning, ”she said. “Every time I have done an event, I have enjoyed it as much as the participants. My work was improving. I felt more satisfied with my job and was able to regain a kind of balance that I didn’t have before.
Some people look to volunteering as a viable way to set themselves apart from other job seekers.
“I know, through my own hiring practices and my extensive experience with human resources departments, that a volunteer candidate can be a critical signal that sets that person apart from others,” Mainwaring said. “This person knows what he stands for. They are motivated, ready to show off. And they know how to tell the difference.
Brian Schwartz’s caring and know-how have caught the attention of several employers with his 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, I Want To Tond Your Lawn, a free lawn care service at social distancing for the elderly.
After being fired last June from his post as vice president of an advertising agency in Times Square, Schwartz had no back-up plan. The birth of her first child was imminent and her father was battling brain cancer. To deal with stress, clear his head and replace an indoor workout with an outdoor gym, the Wayne, New Jersey resident mowed his lawn “as therapy to understand life”.
He conceived the idea as a non-profit, put his mower in the family Jeep, and cut a local elder’s lawn. “They were super grateful. It was a good feeling. It was nice to help, ”he said.
In addition, this flourishing business kept her mind sharp. “It was also a way for me to keep busy and not have a hole in my CV, which worried me. It shows my proactivity as well as my desire to work.
Schwartz added the organization to his CV and LinkedIn profile. As word spread, employers sent him links to apply for their positions, including a CEO who contacted directly.
Now he holds a flexible contract role in e-commerce and advertising and supports his efforts with the non-profit organization, which now has a presence in 34 states with more than 135 volunteers.
As these sharp skills are coveted by employers, at the end of the day, that’s good karma too.
“Lawn care is a by-product of the big picture,” said Schwartz. “The end result is to spread kindness. There is certainly a correlation between doing something right in the world and determining the next step in life.