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Volunteering can help bolster one's resume

Special to the Legal News

Published: October 29, 2013

Amid a slew of entries on VolunteerMatch.org, Gentiva Hospice beckoned viewers with a single line: “Build your resume through volunteering.”

For some job seekers, the post could be an enticing proposition.

“It seems that college students, grad students and those just out of college recognize the value of volunteering and the edge it can add to a resume,” said Susan Manecke, volunteer services manager for the health care company’s Gahanna branch.

“I don’t know that anyone has chosen to volunteer with us for the principal goal of beefing up a resume, but the experience gained is always a benefit.”

Gentiva, which is based out of Atlanta, has listed nearly 40 Central Ohio volunteer opportunities on VolunteerMatch’s website.

“Volunteering in almost any capacity shows commitment, caring and thoughtfulness as well as a spirit of giving to one’s community — all recognized, if not appreciated, by employers,” Manecke said.

According to Jobsite.com, volunteer positions can add value to a resume and bridge gaps between steady employment.

“In today’s economy is it can take a long time to find a new job. The longer the gap between jobs, the more difficult it is to attract a new employer,” wrote Mary Nestor-Harper, a Jobsite contributor.

“Employers fear a person who has been off the job for six months or more will have a difficult time readjusting to the job routine.”

Nestor-Harper went on to say that with the rapid evolution of technology, systems, processes and job requirements, job seekers need to remain sharp.

“If you can’t find a job, volunteering is a way to add valuable skills and experience to your resume while continuing your job search,” she wrote.

“There are hundreds of organizations that need the same skills and experience in a volunteer position as a paying job. Non-profits, religious organizations, schools, health care organizations and others need volunteers in many different areas.”

Manecke said Gentiva is always accepting new volunteers.

“Volunteering in general, and specifically with Gentiva Hospice, is nothing less than a win-win, as patients clearly enjoy volunteer visits, and as with almost any volunteer effort, the volunteer receives the satisfaction of doing good and doing good well,” she said.

The hospice’s volunteer opportunities include interaction with patients such as reading, playing music, visiting with a certified therapy pet, licensed massage therapy and hair styling by licensed cosmetologists.

Volunteers are also needed for vigil, bereavement and administrative support.

“Volunteers not only support patients and families with their time and talents, but they also serve as ambassadors for Gentiva, educating others in the community,” Manecke said.

All Gentiva volunteers must attend an orientation, submit to a background check and undergo additional training, if necessary. Those who visit patients are required to have a tuberculosis screening at the company’s expense.

“Volunteering promises to be a rewarding experience regardless of the choice of interest. What makes hospice volunteering especially rewarding stems partially from the misunderstanding and lack of education about hospice,” Manecke said.

“Hospice is about living, not about dying and we, staff and volunteers, do all we can to make the quality of life of our patients and families the very best it can be.”

Manecke said those who are “hospice eligible” are not necessarily imminently dying.

“Indeed, they may live many days, weeks or months more, participating in daily activities. We are the lucky ones who help them enjoy that time — through visits, music, reading, watching a movie, playing bingo or even going to a football game,” she said.

“Hospice volunteers have a special heart, even a calling, to do exceptional work that benefits our patients and provides the volunteers with the unique satisfaction of having made a big difference in the lives of our patients and families.”

Nestor-Harper said taking on volunteer opportunities can do more than help build a resume.

“It’s a good way to network, keep your skills sharp and keep a positive attitude while you’re looking for a regular position. A volunteer position can help you discover new areas of interest and lead to a challenging and rewarding new career,” she wrote, adding that volunteers should make the most of their opportunities.

“Don’t be shy about what you have to offer. Treat your volunteer position the same as if you were a regular employee. Work hard, show up on time and give it all you have. People come and go, and a regular position could open up that would be perfect for you.”

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