Volunteering can have a positive impact on your life, both personally and professionally. As a volunteer, you are devoting time and energy to a good cause, which can be immensely rewarding; at the same time, the experience can help boost your career. Whether you took time off from work and volunteered during or after treatment or you’re currently employed but volunteering as a way to find more meaningful work, your volunteer experience can help propel your career forward.
A recent Idealist article outlines how you can seize the opportunity to highlight your volunteer experience during a job interview. Practice makes perfect, so it’s important to conduct some mock interviews to become more comfortable answering commonly asked interview questions and inserting your volunteer experience into your responses. Here are a few typical interview questions, along with some tips to help you prepare your responses:
“Why are you a fit for this role?” This question allows you to really home in on the hard and soft skills you’ve acquired through volunteering. Teamwork, problem-solving and time management are just a few transferable skills that you might have gained or enhanced as a volunteer; so be prepared to elaborate on how they would be essential to the role that you’re interviewing for. Make sure to include some concrete examples to showcase how you utilized certain skills in a particular setting or situation.
“Tell me about a challenge you’ve encountered and how you approached it.” Your response should touch on the problem and who/what would have been impacted had you not resolved it; how you found and implemented a solution; and the eventual outcome. Since there are a few components that should be referenced in your response, your best course of action is to think of one or two examples in advance and really practice your answer before you meet with the interviewer.
“What motivates you?” Employers ask this open-ended question to get a sense of your personality and understand what drives you. In reply, share a story about your volunteer experience and underscore how it impacted you or others. Be sure to connect the dots between what motivates you and the job you’re applying for.
Looking for more helpful info to guide you through the job interview process? Check out the full article on Idealist’s website, as well as these CAC resources:
- Archived Job Search webinar
- Ask a Career Coach message board