Volunteer experience can boost résumés

Thursday, September 21st, 2017 - Resume

The impact of volunteers can be seen and felt throughout many organizations on post, and Fort Rucker provides opportunities for volunteers that can translate into real-world experience.

Army Community Service provides volunteer opportunities for people who want to dedicate their time to gain a leg up when it comes to providing a helping hand, whether it’s through volunteering at the thrift shop, in family readiness groups, or other various organizations on post, and Vernon Johnson, ACS Army Volunteer Corps program manager, said volunteers are integral in helping the installation function.

“It’s been amazing having volunteers to join the team,” he said. “They actually enhance this community by the gifts and talents that they have and with what they bring to the table.”

Volunteers come from all walks of life, from retirees, military spouses and oftentimes people with multiple degrees, and volunteerism for many of these people can be a starting block, said the program manager.

If people want to volunteer on post, Johnson said the first thing they should do is visit the Army Volunteer Corps office in Bldg. 5700, Rm. 177, which is what Rabeea Perez, military spouse and ACS volunteer, did when she decided to look for volunteer opportunities on the installation.

“They just have to come to the office and show an interest,” she said. “For me, the first day I walked into the office I talked to [Johnson] and told him what my skill set was. He’s really amazing with pairing people up depending on your skill set, so if you go to your ACS office and talk with your volunteer manager, I think they could figure out what would be the best fit for you.

“Just come to the office and talk to the people here,” she continued. “It can be intimidating sometimes when you’re in a new place, but once you get to know people, they are super nice and they are here to help people.”

People can also call 255-1429 to inquire about volunteer opportunities or visit https://rucker.armymwr.com/programs/army-volunteer-corps for more information.

Johnson said one of the big benefits to volunteering is that it can provide real work experience.

“Volunteering is a way to enhance your resume while you’re waiting to go into the work force,” he said. “Volunteer work translates directly into employment opportunities when put on a resume – I think it’s very important. Even when you look at the civilian workforce, corporate America is looking for a workforce that can do more than just the job. They’re looking for employees who are able to go out and do that outreach.”

For Elianna Castro, military spouse and ACS volunteer, she began volunteering as a way to help occupy her time with something meaningful and get involved in her community while her husband was going through training.

“I’m new to the Army, so ACS has allowed me to feel like I’m part of a community. It has helped me to make connections, so it’s been a great opportunity for me not only to get involved in my community, but professionally, too,” she said. “Even though I didn’t get paid [for volunteering], it’s nice to feel like you’re doing something worthwhile. And although you might not get paid monetarily, you get paid in experience and you get to meet people on post, so you get paid in other ways.”

“It’s been such an amazing way for me to feel like I’m a part of the Army life, get to know other spouses and learn more about the Army,” added Perez. “I’m [also] completely new to the Army life, so it’s been a really good way for me to adjust and feel more comfortable.”

Not only can the work experience be a boon on resumes, but the connections can also lead to employment opportunities, which is exactly what happened for Castro, who was able to secure a job at the commissary through her connections with ACS.

It’s that type of reward that volunteerism can provide for people, said Johnson, adding that the experience gained can only benefit them in the future.

“One thing we like to put emphasis on is to make sure our volunteers are trained,” he said. “I know that they aren’t going to stay in this location, so if they have that additional military training for wherever they go, they leave with a new skill set. That way it’s easier for them to assimilate in the next location.”

“Just try it out,” said Castro. “[Johnson] has always said that you can go and try out the workforce, but if you need to come back home, come on back. So, I really like the fact that I have the freedom to go and try new things, and if that doesn’t work out, I can always go back to ACS – it makes me feel like I always have somewhere to go.”

For more information, call 255-1429, or visit https://rucker.armymwr.com/programs/army-volunteer-corps.

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