|Volunteers transfer skills, build resumes
Source: Megan Smith
Volunteers transfer skills, build resumes
Fort Campbell Courier - 13 Sep 2008
by Megan Smith, Courier staff
“I have been unemployed, underemployed, misemployed and gainfully employed,” said Maria McConville to a crowd of more than 150 in her opening speech at the first ever Fort Campbell volunteer seminar Friday.
McConville helped organize the event titled “Volunteering: Stepping Stones to Your Future” and said she uses her experience as a volunteer to help military spouses feel appreciated and build a working resume through their volunteer work.
The day long seminar at Cole Park Commons featured sessions on resume building, self-marketing, corporate etiquette, networking, federal job placement, home-based business and body language.
“I had this idea [about a seminar] because I have been an Army spouse for 21 years and during that time I have had a lot of volunteer opportunities,” McConville said. “I have learned a lot through my volunteer experiences, and when you look at what I do in my profession as a dietician, it is completely different than what I do as an Army wife.”
Although McConville has a degree in nutrition and worked as a professional fitness trainer, she said many of her valuable skills come from volunteer work.
“Couple of years ago when I wanted to revise my resume, just putting down my medical experience only tells half of the picture, now I have this whole other skill set that tells more of the picture, and I need to bring all that together,” McConville said. McConville said many times she sees military spouses get “burned out” with volunteer work, but through the seminar she wants to ensure them the work is not for nothing.
“I see this frustration, and volunteer work is about feeling good about your work,” McConville said. “People need to feel more self confident about their volunteer service.”
During the seminar, keynote speaker Deb Kloeppel, president of Military Spouse Corporate Career Network, spoke to the audience about increasing self confidence, how volunteers can market their volunteer work in the job world and she showed them how to apply their experiences into a working resume.
Kloeppel said transferable skills are important skills job recruiters look for, and military spouses have plenty of those skills.
“Transferable skills are the soft skills that military spouses innately have because of our culture,” Kloeppel said. “Transferable skills seem to be missing in the civilian world.”
Kloeppel said effective body language can mean the difference between getting the job or not.
“My message today is to not look at volunteering as, ‘oh I’m just a volunteer, and I’m going to spend my time as a volunteer.’ No, you are going to earn skill sets as a volunteer.”
McConville said many of the skill sets volunteers acquire such as fundraising, management, teaching, medical assistance and public relations can look “great” on a resume.
Military spouse Annette Powell said the seminar was “worth going to.”
“In my work, we help people find jobs,” Powell said. “We take them from welfare to work, and this is a great place for us to network. It is always good to have more options and the more I know the more I can help my clients.”