Many undergraduate students who aren’t yet qualified for internships find that volunteering is an easy step they can take early in their studies at Ohio State to strengthen their resumes. And, for those students who are pursuing occupations that don’t provide direct pathways into their fields via undergraduate internships (e.g., therapists, lawyers), volunteering will allow you to work with the populations of people (e.g., children, elderly, differently abled), or in the same work sectors (e.g., nonprofit, education), that align with your career goals.
With the large number of nonprofit organizations in central Ohio, it is easy for Ohio State students to find a volunteer position! Ohio ranks 7th in the number of registered nonprofit organizations.
The benefits are many, and the ones that hold high appeal among students are flexible scheduling, career exploration and networking. When you volunteer it’s typically up to you to decide how many hours you want to spend at the site.
You’ll meet many people while volunteering, providing lots of opportunities to do informational interviews [pdf] and to add names to your list of network contacts.
Skills you can gain
There is a great deal of variability in what organizations ask of their volunteers. Because of the large number of volunteer positions available in central Ohio, you are encouraged to be selective. Focus on applying for positions that will represent a challenge, that will allow you to expand your skill set.
Or, focus on applying for positions that will address a missing link on your resume. For instance, maybe you are interested in a career that requires international experience but can’t afford to study abroad. Volunteering with one of the local organizations that assists people who have moved to Columbus from other countries would be a great resume building strategy.
Starting your search
One of the best resources of viewing descriptions of volunteer programs is the Volunteer Match website or through your student organization. Information about volunteer opportunities is also found in Handshake and on the following Ohio State websites:
You can meet with a Career Prep Advisor in Arts and Sciences Center for Career and Professional Success to obtain assistance with finding a volunteer position, evaluating how an opportunity you’ve discovered might support your career goals and preparing your application materials.