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The Power of Volunteering

In the dictionary, volunteering is an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial gain “to benefit another person, group or organization”.

Volunteering, in the form which we would understand, dates back to 1851. It’s the same creation date of the first YMCA in the United States. During the American civil war, educator Clara Barton and a team of volunteers started to provide clothing, food, and supplies for the sick and wounded servicemen. Barton then formed the American Red Cross in 1851 and began to mobilize volunteers for disaster relief, including supporting the victims of the Johnstown flood in 1889.

Today, volunteering is the backbone of many non-profit organizations across the US. Studies by Volunteering in America have shown that young Americans spent over 3.6 million hours for organizations or causes which they felt passionate about.

If you have never volunteered, you may not know what type of volunteering would be good for you or where you can start on your journey to becoming a volunteer.

There are thousands of potential opportunities that can allow you to share your skills and knowledge or learn something totally new. Volunteering posts vary from fundraising and administration, right through to building new schools or sinking wells overseas.

Now, you might wonder what good volunteering can bring you. It may surprise you that, apart from the feeling of being able to do something good for the wider community, there are a large number of benefits to carrying out volunteer work.

It makes you feel better

Research has shown that taking part in volunteering activities can make you feel better, both in body and mind!

A survey of over 3,000 adults by the UnitedHealth Group found that of those people who had volunteered, 76% said that volunteering made them feel better and 94% stated that volunteering improved their mood and self-esteem. It was found that people who volunteered were able to manage their stress more easily and feel a stronger connection to their community.

So, doing something good can do you some good!

“I love the voluntary work I do now and equally loved the voluntary work I did for the Stroke Association a few years ago. It gives me a purpose, and is good for my mental health.”, said Karla, a volunteer for a number of organizations.

You can learn new skills

When you volunteer, you get the chance to undertake training, learn, and practice a number of new skills. Many of these are soft skills which are skills that you are unlikely to learn from any university. These include communication skills, teamwork and the ability to adapt to any situation.

Working with strangers on a project will help you build a set of skills and earn experiences that will be vital for every part of your life. You will have to create links and communicate, understand objectives and even resolve disputes.

Soft skills are difficult to represent on your resume. You can say you have excellent team building or communication skills, but you won’t be able to prove them on paper. By volunteering, you’ll be able to demonstrate how you gained and used these skills.

See Also: Importance Of Soft Skills: Why Grades Aren’t Enough

You can make new friends

volunteer work

This is one of the importance of volunteering.

In a world of online friendships or as you transition from high school to college, you can lose some real connections. Although it might help to read your friends’ status updates, it doesn’t compare to ‘face to face’ friendships!

Volunteering can help you build new friendships with people from all walks of life. You will be meeting in an environment you both support and care about and will be on a shared journey. The people you meet could become very close friends or even more.

You are more likely to socialize with your volunteering colleagues than people who don’t volunteer. The issue is that despite being more connected than ever, we lack real friendships.

Many people find that they have very few friends who they regularly see face-to-face. A report published by the American Sociological Review found that the average American only has two close friends. A quarter, on the other hand, states that they have no close friends at all. Volunteering gives you an opportunity to step out of your usual circle of friends and colleagues and meet new people.

It makes you more employable

A report by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that promotes volunteering, found that people who had spent time volunteering had a 27% better chance of finding a job than others who had never volunteered.

An individual who has taken the time and effort to become involved in a volunteer capacity demonstrates a natural work ethic, has a more developed set of soft skills and has gained or updated skills needed in the workplace. This is often referred to as ‘human capital’ which is defined as ‘the acquisition of “of all useful skills and knowledge…that is part of deliberate investment.” Schultz (1961). It is seen as an investment in skills and training which have a measurable economic payoff or return on investment.

Stewart Lucas is the CEO of a major mental health charity in the United Kingdom. He spent a year working for a community project in Manchester in the 1990’s. He said: “I do what I do because of volunteering. If I hadn’t done my year of volunteering in 1991-92, then I wouldn’t be in Manchester and I wouldn’t be the CEO of a leading charity. Most of my staff started as volunteers, and volunteers are the lifeblood of all our work. In fact, most, if not all, charity CEOs started as volunteers.”

Claire looked to find a role in education and found that volunteering offered the experience and contacts which enabled her to find a permanent job. “I volunteered in a school playgroup. This gave me great references, enabling me to get me a permanent job in a school.”

How can I go about volunteering?

There is a multitude of organizations and types of volunteering available both in the US and overseas. As a starting point, you may want to check the Reward Volunteers quiz. It can help you understand the sort of volunteering role that can suit your personality.

Volunteer roles are massively varied and reflect the wide range of not-for-profit organizations. The basic types include:

Formal – It’s generally a long-term volunteering which involves delivering services. This can include supporting care and activities in a care home, leading education session or acting as a volunteer driver.

Informal – This is a less defined form of volunteering. There may not be specific roles but there will be tasks that need to be undertaken when people have the time. These could include community volunteering, such as beach cleaning or volunteering for sporting activities.

Social action – These bring together people with common interests, such as environmental protection or political lobbying. They have a defined outcome for their activities.

The roles you can carry out are vast, from organizing charity events through supporting the charity administration and governance. You can either find a role where you have skills already or work with your organization to develop new skills.

It may be that you are very outgoing and will suit a role that involves public speaking, like fundraising or campaigning activities. If you are hands-on and practical, you could find roles in conservation, building and maintaining paths or clearing bushland.

In case you are a good listener, you may find the role of a counselor as the best fit for you. If you are sporty, you may want to look at coaching or supporting local sports teams or activities. This could include marshaling races or helping the safe running of sporting events.

Volunteering overseas

volunteering overseas

In case you want more volunteering opportunities, there are a large number of possible roles outside of the US. You should be aware that some projects will expose you to extreme poverty and you need to be ready to face such realities.

Remember, you will not be able to change everything by yourself. However, by volunteering, you can make a change by supporting people who truly need your help. As emotional and difficult as some placements can be, they can be equally rewarding.

You should be aware that there can be costs involved with volunteering overseas and this may come as a surprise. The organizations need to ensure that they have the funds available to support their cause. They need to make sure that they can provide food, accommodation and a support network for their volunteers.

The importance of volunteering

Volunteering is a two-way street. You will not just gain skills, experience, and friendships, but you will also be able to give something very precious- your time and energy.

Virtually, every single non-profit organization relies totally on volunteers to carry out their activities and they really make a difference. For example, The Samaritan volunteers give over 5.5 million hours of their time freely. This enables them to pick up the phone to callers and answer texts and emails from individuals who are desperate for advice. Callers contact the organization every 6 seconds day and night.

Volunteering doesn’t always have to involve life and death situations, but you’ll surely influence others’ lives.

In the words of Linda who has volunteered all her life, “It is truly a rewarding experience. Feeling you are making a difference. Giving without taking. Giving back if you have been given kindness. It is so important.”

See Also: 5 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer

The post The Power of Volunteering appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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6 Tips On How To Prep Your CV For More Job Interviews

If you want to get an interview for the position at the company you are applying for, then there are 6 things you should bear in mind. In this article, we will partially focus on cover letters as well as other important resume writing tips.

So, grab a pen, and get ready to totally change your approach to CVs and cover letters.

6 Tips On Successful CV Emailing Process

Address your email to a particular person

emailing resume

Avoid using general opening phrases like “Dear Sirs” or “To Whom It May Concern.” They are impersonal and cannot impress the recipients.

Most recruiters state that emails which are addressed to a specific person get higher chances of being read and paid special attention to. To know who to address your CV to, you can research the company’s LinkedIn account or company website.

Just think about it:

If you are getting dozens of cover letters a day, you are more likely to pay attention to the applicant who knows you by name than an applicant who simply addresses the company in general. So, if you do not want your resume to get into a stack of other similar “impersonal” letters, then address it to a particular person.

Use Keywords

A lot of companies use state-of-the-art technologies to analyze all the emails they get as well as the resumes in them. These technologies function in such a way that they identify the keywords in a letter or resume they receive.

Thus, after you familiarize yourself with a job description, make sure to check its keywords and major requirements. Keep these keywords in mind as you craft your cover letter and resume.

This will not only help a potential employer see you as a perfect applicant but will also help your letter avoid getting screened out.

See Also: Resume Action Words That Will Get You That Job

Be Original

In numerous resume examples one can find online, we see all the same patterns which candidates repeat time after time. Unfortunately, such clichés and standard phrases do not build up a strong image for you.  They can even do the exact opposite.

For this reason, we highly recommend that you try to be as original as possible. For instance, check out the story of Sumukh Mehta who created a resume for GQ magazine and structured it in the form of the magazine itself. His resume went viral and still serves as a brilliant example of a CV which can get you not only an interview but the actual job.

Find Connections

You probably know the theory about seven handshakes. If not, then you should be aware of it.

The theory says that all people on the planet are connected through seven handshakes. This means that you have connections with almost everyone through other people you know.

All you have to do is find these connections and use them for your own benefit. If you can get a recommendation, then all the better as you can mention this when you write your cover letter. It can make all the difference.

Write a Bright Opening

writing resume

You do not have much time to make a good first impression. In fact, professional recruiters say that they only have around 14 seconds for one resume as they get at least 250 applicants a day per position.

So, if you want to be among the people they will likely invite to an interview, remember to create a bright opening. Take one information from your resume and use it as your winning ticket. You can also mention some experience that you had which makes you brilliant for the position.

Write something like “I used to work as a sales manager for this company for a year, and I increased their sales by 30%.” This can draw the company’s attention and stimulate their interest in your resume.

Demonstrate Your Skills

Even if you do not have all the skills they expect from a perfect candidate, you can emphasize the ones you have and sell them to the company. To do that, you need to provide evidence to support your statements.

You can add some numbers that can illustrate how much you contributed to your previous place of employment. Think of your own unique way to present such experience.

We hope that with our practical resume writing tips, you’ll be able to email your CV correctly. We guarantee that if you follow our tips step by step, you will certainly get yourself an interview.

See Also: 16 Worst Resume Mistakes

The post 6 Tips On How To Prep Your CV For More Job Interviews appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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16 Worst Resume Mistakes

Whether you are a college student, a recent graduate or a job seeker, you must have, at least once in your lifetime, written a resume. Resume writing is tricky for everyone. It is not an easy task even for the experienced writers. A resume has to be perfect because it marks the starting point of one’s professional career. However, there are several common mistakes that people make while writing a resume.

Here are 17 common resume mistakes that you must avoid making 2017 the year of your employment.

Try to make your resume short

short resume

Okay, you have achieved a lot starting from highschool to college graduation. You want to show everything to your recruiter and you expect them to read every word of it. You are gravely wrong.

Recruiters are saying that they want resumes that are just one page long. An average manager will not spend even a minute looking at your resume. Be sure that you keep the most relevant information on the top and hold it to one page.

Don’t overuse words

While writing a resume, people tend to use overused words and repeat the same words again and again. This makes your resume unattractive and annoying. At times, only vague information is provided.

Your resume should be creative and attractive enough to attract the recruiter’s attention. Make sure you use words and phrases that are straight to the point.

Make your resume productive in grammar

You should never use poor English or misuse words, use wrong spellings and punctuations. Such mistakes are not overlooked and they make your resume look bad. Just imagine a resume with several red marks. If you aren’t confident with your written skills, have a good editor go through your document.

Don’t fake yourself

Never give wrong information about yourself or your accomplishments. Remember, honesty is the best policy. Some details are too perfect to be right.

There may be situations in your career wherein you have to prove a wrong detail you provided in your resume. Don’t take chances. Be honest about yourself.

Go with the proper format

One of the most important things many people ignore is the format of any official paper. The format and appearance of a resume also matter a lot. Your resume should be cross-platform and compatible with all computers.

That is why most people prefer the PDF format for their resumes. PDF format appears the same on all computers. Also, make sure that you don’t use many different fonts, colors or graphs. Keep it neat and clean so that it is easy to read.

The objective statement

If you know what to include, then go ahead. This works if in case you are changing fields as this acts as a summary of your resume. If you simply add that you require a job, it is an utter waste of time. Specifically, if you include the fact that you need a job as an objective statement, then it is certainly not so unique.

Work Experiences

If you are sending a job application for the position of a chef, there’s no need to include your experience as an accountant. Do not include those irrelevant experiences. Be to the point and specific about your throw as a candidate.

Personal Stuff and hobbies

Marital status and religious preference – this isn’t your Facebook profile. These might have been a significant thing in the past, but apparently not anymore and for good reason.

In fact, if your employer asks for this information or data like Social Security Number, it is illegal. Also, do not waste space by writing hobbies that are unrelated to the job you are applying for. This is a major mistake in resume-writing that people often make.

Too much content

Right! If you have so much to tell your prospective employer, you can add a few points during the final round of interview where the employers are interested in listening to you. Do not include worldly content in your Job Resume. Keep it as short and significant as possible.

Also, if you are using a .5 inch margin, do not use 8 point font as this won’t be appreciated.


If your employers would like to have a conversation with your previous employers, they will let you know. This is where keeping good relations with your past employers helps.

Your Email Address

Always give out a professional email address. Avoid unprofessional-sounding ones like Having a professional email id plays a significant role in your job selection. Show the employers your professionalism right from there.

Your current business contact

Do not mess with this and give out false information. This is another stupid mistake a few people do in Resume Writing. If you wish to get immediately disqualified from the screening process, you can go ahead.

Social Media URLs

social media

If you are not applying for the position of a social media analyst or a graphic designer or any position that requires a better social profile, do not provide your Facebook to Instagram URLs. You might have some information that your employer doesn’t wish to see, and you are done then and there.

It isn’t unheard of for companies and HR departments to research and find a promising candidate’s social media. So, be sure not to have anything damaging on your social media especially if you are job-hunting.

Salary information

If you have held some past jobs during your college days and are planning to include the salary you were paid, stop it right there. Salary comes later, much later. Employers do not prefer employees who are only and all about salary. Your resume is intended to show your professional skills and why you are the best fit for the job opening. It’s not to decide how much you should be paid.

Fonts and issues

typography and fonts

If you are using a fancy cursive font just because you like it, forget even getting into the second round of the job. Non-professional fonts straight away get rejected no matter how skilled you are. Even if you are applying for a creative position, it doesn’t warrant hard-to-read fonts.

Also, avoid using old fonts such as Times New Roman. A standard sans-serif font like Arial will do. Your ultimate aim is to convey your skills – beautiful and sleek.

Reasons why you left your previous job

If you were consider adding this to your resume, please know that this is not cool at all. Leave it out of your one-page resume. This is usually asked during the round of interviews but it doesn’t have to go on your resume.

Many candidates mistakenly think stating their reasons will give their employers more reasons to hire them but this is incorrect. Let your interviewer address this and not you.

Apart from all of these, other silly mistakes include adding in your GPA. GPA doesn’t decide anything. Moreover, make sure to exclude your pictures, opinions, and short-term experiences from your resume as all of these can add negative points to your application. Keep it simple.

Good luck with the job-hunting!

See Also: What I Learned From Reading 1,000 Resumes 



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