Can becoming an international volunteer help you get a job? According to The University of California San Diego Extension’s Center for Global Volunteer Service (CGVS) the answer is maybe. By spending time abroad volunteering you may be developing important skills that translate to the workplace back home. CGVS recently completed a survey studying global volunteer service and the workplace.
The survey was completed by 1010 adults from across the country. They found that respondents thought that those participating in international volunteering also developed leadership skills, creativity and resourcefulness Other benefits may be developing compassion and a willingness to give to others and intercultural awareness.
Voluntourism continues to grow in popularity. CGVS reported the highest ever exposure and participation in global service.
“Over half (52 percent) of respondents said they had joined in a discussion within the past year about participating in a volunteer service project or trip to regions outside their own community or country — a 7 percent increase over the previous UC San Diego Extension survey in 2009 and the first time that figure has risen above 50 percent.”
The younger populations also report very high interest and exposure to international volunteering. Out of college students surveyed 91 percent said they knew someone personally who had been a global service volunteer and 87 percent of high school students gave the same response.
So how can you leverage an international voluneer trip when applying for jobs? Make sure to highlight the experience on your resume. Remember to quantify your service by giving numbers that tell a story. For example, you could say that you taught English classes to 30 kids or gave 80 hours of service in building a home. You can also use stories of lessons you learned or skills you developed when in an interview. Prepare with practice questions beforehand so you narratives flow.