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Sally and Randy on the Importance of Internships and Volunteering



Why is volunteer work \ extracurricular activities \ doing an internship important for your resume or for applying for a job?

In writing your resume, one has to include various academic and work experience and this also includes adding your volunteer work/ extracurricular activities/ doing an internship.

These may have been doing during your high school until college days and even currently. A good resume can give you a heightened advantage over other candidates; who may have more academic qualifications than you, for the same spot you are applying to.

  • Volunteer work or extra-curricular activities can range from being a representative of any clubs that may be available at your school, a member of a team; academic or sports, tutoring, volunteering with the elderly or working with environmental causes.
  • While an internship provides the opportunity for a student or young professional to work alongside regular staff in a workplace, to gain some basic hands-on experience and educational/professional insight into a career path. These paid or unpaid internships may or may not lead to a job within that same company but as an unemployed individual, it can lead to networking opportunities that will be beneficial in the long run. An internship is an opportunity to test drive a career without making any serious commitments. It provides you with experiences, lessons, and the tools you’ll need to get a full-time gig in the future.

The Importance of it all:

  • Firstly, everyone says that in order to get a job you first must have experience. Yet in order to have the experience you need to get a job. Thus internships enable graduates to get employment faster as it shows that the individual has been developing their skill set and are able to multi-task better as they have a formal work setting experience.
  • Internships are important because they provide insight into real-world employment settings which can help to define career goals. They also enable students to develop soft-skills which are essential for employability. For example, good communication skills, professional work ethics, initiative, and cultural intelligence (the ability to work well across multi-cultural or global settings).
  • Networking is an exchange of information between people, with the ultimate goal of establishing acquaintances and relationships to advance your professional career. Being an intern gives you more opportunities to build connections with company professionals that can be very beneficial for your future career.
  • One of the most valuable skills you will gain from an internship is the ability to speak with people in a professional setting. Discussions with bosses or coworkers are different from discussions with lecturers or fellow students. After your internship, you should have a better idea of the appropriate way to behave as a professional. This will help you a lot when you start interviewing for jobs because you will be more confident and will sound more mature and experienced in a business setting.
  • Volunteer work shows your employer your work ethic and your expertise without actually having any work experience. It alleviates any skills and shows future employers what talents you have to offer.
  • It shows that you are open to new experiences
  • It shows you have a sense of community and your ability to collaborate towards a common goal
  • It demonstrates your willingness to take the initiative
  • It demonstrates that you have interests beyond academic
  • It fills in the time gap. If you are currently not employed and are looking for employment but there is none available to you, you can do volunteer work. It shows future employers that you were not wasting your time. Linked in with the awareness that you can take the initiative and be productive.

Main Points

  • Become better at communication
  • The opportunity to network; leading to future job advantages.
  • Developing your skills; technical, communication, teamwork, problem-solving and leadership
  • Being more employable
  • Real world experience that teaches more about the career path you are setting. Realistic goals.
  • Employers value individuals who display a range of skills on their resume and not only their academic qualifications. This differentiates individuals who may only have the paper knowledge and no real-life experience even if it may only just be volunteer work or internships.
  • It can also help individuals who also may be lacking in certain academic qualifications and as such, some employers may place value on their only experiences such as internships or volunteer work.
  • Hence including your volunteer and internship experience on your resume or actually committing to doing it can give you an edge above others in getting a job placement.

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