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Volunteer Work and your resume February 16, 2010

Posted by jvmullin in 1.
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This question gets asked a lot. Should I put my volunteer work on my resume?

Your volunteer work shows that you have interest outside of work that is considered life-balance. It shows the type of person you are by what you volunteer for. It shows that you can handle certain things better than others.

I was at a networking meeting the other day and this question came up. I was discussing how I have been told that my volunteer work (underwater recovery) should be on my resume. I was saying how I leave it on there. I am the Assistant Dive Chief and help run the operation or I am in charge of the operation. Since I have been on the news a number of times I asked when you see divers on the news do you know what goes on when they are there? No one had a clue.

The following is a typical operation that I would run;

I get a phone call between 1AM and 4 AM that there is a drowning (usually in the quarry). I have to figure out the risk involved and then pick from 139 fellow volunteers those that have the skill set to get the job done. I also have to support personnel for each diver so I have to call others. I then have to get the truck and report to the scene. Once on the scene I have to secure an area for my divers, find the Officer in Charge of the Scene and get filled in on what the story is. I have to interview witnesses. Then after assigning a few tasks I formulate the plan and pick my first team of divers to get in the water. I hold a brief press conference for the media that has shown up. Then it is back to running the operation. I debrief the first team of divers as to the conditions they encountered. I call all divers to a meeting to let them know whats ahead for them. Then the next set goes in. Each team of divers get a debriefing on exiting the water so that I can revamp the plan if required. In the middle of the operation I call another press conference to update them and to let them know what conditions we are diving in and to give them an estimate of how long I think the operation is going to run. At the end of the operation I give the last press conference. I give a final report to the Officer in Charge of the Scene.

So to break that down into skills that I go through; team building, logistics, relations(public and media), planning, risk/benefit assessment, leadership, crisis management(at times), communications and politics(on occasion).

After explaining this to the group I was told by one person that I was running an Agile operation. I said we run as a paramilitary organization in that we have one person in charge and one voice to the outside world. They said that is Agile. So I guess you could say that I understand how Agile works.

You could also say that I understand LEAN also. Think about it! I have limited resources to work with( I do not call out everyone for a dive) and I have to do the best job I can and get results that lead to a successful completion of the operation.

You could liken an operation to a project; I have a start and end I have dependencies and interdependencies and milestones.

So you can see that my volunteer work needs to be on my resume as the skills that I use (all at once) are beneficial to the company that I work for.

I am sure that your volunteer work may not be as involved as mine but I bet you have some great transferable skills from yours.

The other thing about volunteer work is that you may interview with someone who also volunteers to that organization or is interested in it. It will provide a talk point and relax the interview as now you have a common point.

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