People often associate stuffing their faces with Thanksgiving as they do bees with making honey. But just as bees pollinate the planet, people also give back on this particular day. Every Thanksgiving before, I destroy multiple family members’ kitchens and gain a couple of inches on my waist size I wake up early and dedicate my time to 2016 TX Energy Houston Turkey Trot which benefits half a million people in the Houston area. In the past few years of doing this, I’ve noticed that the Thanksgiving spread tastes a lot better. Houston has a lot of opportunities to help others this Thanksgiving. Within these opportunities, there are many ways to spruce up your resume or develop contacts.
As I mentioned before, the Houston Turkey Trot is where I go to see how my work indirectly helps people in the area. Operation Turkey and the Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade are other examples of ways you can give back to the city of Houston. In addition to these, many nearby churches and civic organizations will have ways for you to lend a hand. Checking these out and signing up will allow you to reward yourself by rewarding others. Speaking of rewarding yourself…
A resume is a great place to capture the hard work you demonstrated and skills you obtained in your volunteer work. When facilitating job search seminars for Workforce Solutions, I tell job seekers to create a special section dedicated to volunteer work. Just like an employment history section on your resume, your volunteer section will list your position, organization, date range and skills used in this particular role. Keep the formatting similar (if not the same) as your employment history section to remain consistent. Volunteering not only helps the way you look on paper, it does wonders for your soft skills (i.e. networking).
Every time I help lead a team of volunteers or perform general “all-hands-on-deck” type duties, I use that time to make new contacts and practice my social skills with new people I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I would have never built nor maintained great relationships I now have if I had not taken advantage of that first opportunity to volunteer. If you’ve never volunteered before, it will be tough to initially step out of your comfort zone, but just like any other soft skill, you will get better with practice.
In conclusion, there are so many personal gains to be had in volunteering. Take your pick: beef up your resume, build relationships or be able to sleep better at night. It is an opportunity to be selfish while appearing selfless. This Thanksgiving, before helping yourself, help others. Use volunteering to your advantage and let it help you get a job, keep your job or get a better job!
Diego Trevino is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions in the Houston – Galveston area. Before joining the regional team, he served as a greeter, employment counselor and staffing specialist. Earlier in his career he traveled to South Korea where he taught students English. He uses past teaching experiences and present workforce knowledge to conduct job skills seminars throughout the 13 county Gulf Coast Region.