Bookbyte Blog

Posts tagged ‘volunteering’

Your Class Schedule Isn’t Enough to Get You a Job

99% of resumes divide their information into two sections: Education and Work Experience. There’s a reason for this. Potential employers want to know about your education to see what your interests are, what your talents are, if you’re generally pretty smart, and if you have a nice looking institution to put next to your name. They want to know about your work experience so they can tell how you’re able to handle the day-to-day responsibilities of a workplace and if you can meet the minimum requirements of the job.

iStock_000009629000XSmall In other words, employers look at your education to know who you are. They look at your work experience, on the other hand, to see what it is you can do.

Despite this visible distinction right on the resume, many entry-level applicants, especially the ones who have impressive higher education credentials, think leaning on their education will be good enough.

I don’t care if you aced all your classes at Harvard. If you aren’t showing off outside interests, experience, or ambition, you’re not offering your employer very much at all.

So how do you fill out those non-education chunks of the resume? By volunteering, working odd jobs, and extracurriculars. I’m sure you’ve heard this advice before, but I’m going to try to be as crudely practical about it, based on my observations, as I can. Hopefully that’ll provide a fresh perspective.

Volunteering. Aside from all the good altruistic reasons for volunteering, from a purely strategic perspective, volunteering is a great way of getting work experience without competing for the job position beforehand. It doesn’t matter all that much what you’re doing, but if you want to show that you can show up to work on time, follow instructions, and work well in a group, give up a few hours to a soup kitchen, a youth group, or whatever other charitable labor you can find.

Working odd jobs. Work experience doesn’t have to mean a corporate position with benefits, 401(k)s, and regular salaries. Anything you can get paid for doing (as long as it’s legal) counts as a job. So if you need to show that you can hold your own in a professional setting, mow some lawns, paint some houses, or weed some garden beds. If you do it enough times over the course of a couple months, then you’re technically “freelance.”

Extracurriculars. After your first one or two jobs, the structured things you did with your spare time aren’t going to matter very much. You’ll probably cut them out of your resume altogether. However, before that first job, the extracurriculars are not optional. They’re an essential part to the overall story of you as a professional. Whatever field you want to work in, you’ll need to prove that your interest in it runs deeper than the minimum credits required to get your degree. And you’ll need these extracurriculars, once again, to show off your ability to handle the basics of a professional setting: showing up on time, handling responsibilities, and working well with others.

Lone For the Holidays

There’s three kinds of college students during Thanksgiving break. There’s the people who travel home, gorge themselves on food, and return in the  worst possible mentality going into finals.

Group two are the people who see a break coming and decide to get as much out of it as possible.

Lazy College Senior meme: "Thanksgiving break/ Leaves the Friday Before"

And group three doesn’t go anywhere, because plane tickets are expensive, they have a lot of work to do, or they don’t have a lot of close family.

If you find yourself in group three, you’ve got to make a plan to keep your sanity. Because if 7 pm rolls around and you find yourself sitting in bed, eating day-old Domino’s breadsticks, and watching re-runs of House, you might start to feel down. So here’s a few ways to stave off the lonesome Thanksgiving blues.

  • Makeshift family. You might not have your family around, but the odds are pretty good that there’s somebody else on campus. Scrounge up a group of stragglers who’re in the same boat as you and have everyone chip in a dish or two. You might not have those sweet potatoes your grandma makes that you love so much, but you’ll still capture the spirit of the holiday.
  • Hold off for the weekend. Don’t care much for the other people left on campus? Then wait a few days before throwing together your makeshift family meal. Not too many of your friends will object to another awesome meal on the Sunday when they get back. A few of them might be able to smuggle back leftovers of their family’s finest cooking to boot.
  • Volunteer. There’s no better way to gain perspective and appreciate what you have than helping out people in need. (Check with your nearby shelters first. A lot of places get more volunteers than they need this time of year… and not nearly enough at other times. You might want to hold on to this thought until later.)

Photo of a young woman handing a bag of groceries to an older man.

  • Spoil yourself. Money might be too tight to get a plane ticket back home, but you don’t need to spend too much for budget decadence. Get yourself a pint of your favorite ice cream flavor. Go see a movie that none of your friends are interested in. Never change out of pajamas. Have a thanksgiving dinner of scrambled eggs and take-out curry… or whatever crazy mismatched dishes people don’t normally serve together.
  • Something completely different. Sometimes a day can feel like a holiday just by doing something unique. Go on a hike, visit a museum, take the train or bus to a nearby town. If you do something you’ve never done before, the holiday won’t feel like a waste, just a brand new experience.

Giving Back: The Marion-Polk Food Share

Around here we love giving back and supporting the community right here in Salem.

One organization we’ve been happy to partner with is the Marion-Polk Food Share. Each year they are able to distribute over 7.6 million pounds of food to those in need in the Willamette Valley. They run and facilitate several programs that help and support the community.  Some of their programs include a community kitchen where they provide cooking classes and serve meals to those in need. They provide support to children and senior citizens through various programs as well. Working with local prisons and jails, they grow gardens for food production.  This program helps provide food for the Food Share and agricultural skills to the inmates. These skills are often used to find future employment.

The last two years Bookbyte has held a companywide food drive during the month of November. As a company we were able to donate over 6,000 pounds of food each year! Knowing our donations help our neighbors and friends in need, make them more a little more special and meaningful.  We’re grateful to partner with the Marion-Polk Food Share and to join them in making a difference here in Oregon.

Below are some images from their warehouse.


What local organizations and charities do you enjoy donating to and volunteering with? Let us know in the comments.


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