Experience and Benefits for All: How to Build your Resume and Help your Community at the Same Time
Many times people feel like you have to choose between success in the workplace and getting active in your community. But if you're strategic, you can do both at the same time. There are so many systemic issues that need Gen Z's spirited energy, but don't think that you can't build your resume while simultaneously creating positive change at a young age. Today we are going to outline 3 easy yet effective ways in which YOU can get active in your community and learn transferable skills for the workplace.
As a high school student, you may not yet be able to see the benefits of becoming active within your community, but I can say from personal experience that becoming active is absolutely invaluable. It’s a way to build connections and network with people that you most likely wouldn't have met otherwise. It's also a way to create opportunities for yourself that can lead to future jobs, internships, or social connections. The 3 simple ways that anyone can get involved in their community and learn professional skills are volunteering, working a part-time entry level job or internships, and getting involved in extracurricular/campus activities and clubs.
Volunteering is probably the number one way to gain professional experience and give back to your community at the same time. It's not the most glamorous thing because you don't get paid, but if you're a high school or college student looking to get your foot in the door, volunteering could be one way to go. There are a lot of nonprofit organizations that have volunteer positions available that will allow you to a lot of things like marketing, finance, data management, and technology work. Catchafire.org is a great website to find these kinds of opportunities, and a lot of them are remote too :)
Entry-Level and Internship Roles
Internships operate in the same way that volunteer positions do. In either case, the organization doesn't typically expect you to be an expert in your field yet. That means that this is a great opportunity to learn in a low-stress, low-pressure environment. Some internships are paid as well, but even if they aren't they can turn into full-time paid positions. I speak from experience. During my senior year, I began an internship at a nonprofit organization and before I was even half-way through the semester, they offered me a full time position that I could start right away. There are lots of places that do internships for high school students too. These opportunities can be found on www.fastweb.com/career-planning. This website is a good starting point for your search!
Getting Involved in Extracurricular/Campus Activities and Clubs
Getting involved in activities outside of the classroom with your peers is a good way to meet new people and even discover something new that you enjoy doing. For example, activities like debate or student associations can help improve your communication skills and help build your confidence and activist groups that aim to improve a certain social issue are good for networking within your community. At NIU, there are over 300 student organizations and that's what college is all about. Take the time to find your niche and if your school doesn't have a group or activity that interests you, you can almost always start your own with other like-minded people.
There really is a lot you can do if you are struggling to find ways to build your resume. These are just a series of suggestions that can help you do so. Becoming active within your local community is never a bad way of going about building something like your resume. It truly serves as a rabbit hole of opportunities in which there could be a ton of benefit in the end.
Written and Edited by Kameron Brown and Gabrielle Sims