Add Value & Build Character

Posted by Judy Anne Cavey on Mar 10, 2011 in , , | No Comments

When you volunteer your time in an organization, it fills their needs and those they serve.

But, it also builds character and adds value to your college application and resume.

You’ve seen it posted here on this site before and most likely elsewhere–volunteering is important! Whether you are in school, a grad, or have been out pounding the pavement seeking employment, volunteer experience on your resume or college application is a must.

Character Building Experience

I cannot stress enough the need to build your character, to learn and grow from what you’ve done in life. Volunteer work puts you in a prime position to do just that, preparing for the future. Volunteer work can teach you how to interact with others, give of time in ways you’ve only dreamed of, and have compassion for those less fortunate. It will prepare you for the workplace. I know this firsthand.

At 15 years-old, I volunteered every Sunday at the local hospital. There, I dealt with a wide range of experiences which served as character building lessons. After accumulating over 1,000 hours of volunteer time in that position, I continued to look for more volunteer work throughout my life.

From my earliest volunteer experience to my latest, they all prepared me for the workplace. A couple of my volunteer positions actually turned into unique paid positions, utilizing my skill-sets and providing me with a great deal of autonomy. Those generated growth–pushing me beyond what I had accomplished previously–adding value to my resume.

Find Your Passion

Discovering what makes you want to get out of bed in the morning is paramount. It’s not about how much you make, there are plenty of miserable wealthy people in the world who can attest to that fact. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “find your passion”, basically what they’re speaking of is finding what’s most important to you. When you’re able to discover that, work won’t feel like work. In fact, someday you may hear yourself saying, “I can’t believe they pay me to do this!” It might take time to figure out exactly what your passion happens to be and that’s fine. You’ll know when you’ve found it, it will be undeniable.

Volunteer work creates circumstances for self-discovery. Focus on causes or industries which interest you most, then set about finding a volunteer position that fits. Your biggest problem may be the vast choices available, a good problem to be sure.

Testing the workplace waters via volunteering allows for either validation of, or changes to, your decision to go into a certain field. Or if you feel undecided about a major, this is an opportunity to find where your passion truly lies. Look for connections, or “light bulb moments”. For example, you’ve always loved writing and your professors comment on how well you write. Perhaps you haven’t given journalism consideration, maybe now is the time?

In Summary

Volunteer work serves a purpose which benefits an organization, it’s volunteers, and those they assist. Character building is a life-long process, one which allows us to learn and grow in positive ways. Volunteer work on your college application and resume will prove you are a well-rounded student and employee. Not only that, discovering your passion could be the discovery of a lifetime, leading you to major in that subject. Often, volunteer work leads to a paid position. Don’t discount connections, those “light bulb moments”, in fact, look for them! What you haven’t considered in the past may prove to be your future.

Questions to Consider

What causes do you find fascinating, or tug at your heart?

Have you sought out volunteer experiences in these areas?

What seemed like a good fit, did you receive validation you made the right choice?

Which experiences in your volunteer work verified you needed to make a change in your direction?