Resumes, Cover letters, Interviews and Volunteering: Remaining Professional for Unpaid Experiences

Resumes, Cover letters, Interviews and Volunteering: Remaining Professional for Unpaid Experiences

By: Kerri Jesson
  32028 reads

I remember a time when volunteering simply meant raising my hand in class and adding my name to a list created by a teacher or fellow classmate. As I’ve moved out of grade school, however, I’ve come to realize that the process of applying for volunteer positions has become increasingly more similar to applying for a job.

 Many volunteer positions, such as those posted on Symplicity, require a cover letter, a resume, an interview and even references – making the road to volunteering a rigorous process and possibly even overwhelming. Yet it is important not to be discouraged! SFU offers its students a variety of resources to hone your cover letter, resume and interviewing skills, making you a strong candidate for positions now and in the future.      

Below you will find resources that can help you become a successful applicant:

1) SFU’s Career Services:

At Career Services you can book one-to-one sessions with an expert who can assist you with writing your resume and cover letter. The career advisors can also give you interview tips and help you perfect your interview skills with a mock interview.

On the Career Services’ YouTube page you will also find a variety of videos giving you resume tips.

Ready to book an appointment? Find the contact information for Career Services here.

*Note: There is a Career Services center at each of the SFU campuses, so no matter where you study you have access to these resources!*

2) SFU’s OLC:

As far as resumes are concerned, the OLC offers a database of sample resumes to help boost your creativity and get you thinking about various resume formats.

The OLC’s website also contains a variety of blogs specifically focused on aiding students with cover letter writing, and features a Prezi presentation on how the cover letter you had in high school would differ from the one you have today.

If you are unsure of what may be asked during an interview – or what to ask the employer yourself, the OLC’s website also contains an “Interview Question Database” to help you prepare for future interviews.

Are you eager to see what the OLC has to offer? Check out their page here.

*Note: Once you come to the OLC’s main webpage, click under “Learn” to access the resources discussed above.*

 3) InterviewStream: 

If you have ever wondered what you look like and sound like during an interview, InterviewStream is for you! InterviewStream records you while you are answering interview questions, so that you have the ability to play back your interview and see what you need to improve.

 Want to start practicing your interview skills now? Click here to make an account on the InterviewStream website

*Note: You must use your SFU e-mail when making the account*

As you can see, it is important to keep in mind that, when applying for a volunteer job, you do not think that an unpaid position gives leeway to being less professional. Hopefully the resources above will make you more prepared to get the volunteer position you want and impress the organizations you wish to join. 

Kerri is currently in her second year at SFU and working toward her degree in Business. Through her posts on the ENGAGE blog she hopes to inspire other students to take initiative and become engaged, both at SFU and within their communities.

Posted on March 21, 2013