Written by Service-Learning Street Team member Asta MacKie.

For many students, Service-Learning is their first professional experience in college, and this is a valuable thing to utilize while applying to co-ops and internships! Particularly for those without prior co-op experience, Service-Learning is a powerful talking point for students to highlight their understanding of leadership, project management, and communication. So how does one translate their Service-Learning experiences to a resume or interview?

Step 1: Research the Position

Think backwards – don’t start by listing out your Service-Learning experiences, but instead put yourself in the role you are applying to. Take some time to carefully list out all of the expected tasks and necessary skills for the job. Then look back to your Service-Learning experiences and think about what you’ve done that can relate to what the employer is looking for. For example, you may not have worked in a lab before if you’re applying to a pharmaceutical position, but perhaps your experiences in your Inquiries in Biology course inspiring young students to engage in S.T.E.M. has reinvigorated your own passion for the subject, and this is a great thing to bring up in an interview!

Step 2: Find the Buzzwords

We love our buzz words! Take some time to think about your experiences in Service-Learning and how they’re related to your own professional and academic development, and how you can translate those adjectives and skill sets in to sentences for your resume! Here’s a few to get you started:

  • Leadership
  • Project management
  • Passion
  • Communication
  • Educated
  • Inspired
  • Created
  • Developed
  • Partnership
  • Community engagement
  • Cultivated relationship
  • Schedule

Step 3: Know the numbers

It is incredibly important to display the impact of your experiences on your resume. Do some research and find out how many children your organization works with, or how many families are fed through your contributions to a discounted grocery store. This provides a more concrete impact to your potential employers.

Step 4: Reach out to your network!

Service-Learning is an incredibly valuable resource for students to expand their off-campus network of working professionals! Many organizations in Boston are intertwined, and perhaps the organization you were volunteering for has partnered with the business you are applying for in the past. Or maybe your potential employer has been a donor for the organization – you never know! Research your on-campus Service-Learning network, as it’s possible your Service-Learning Teaching Assistant has worked for this company before. Take advantage of this shared experience and utilize it to make more connections. Maintain your relationships with your Service-Learning coordinators and instructors – one could even serve as a professional reference!

Bonus Step: Become more involved!

An employer will love to see dedication and consistency beyond the required expectations. Speak with your volunteer coordinator about continuing your work with them beyond the time put in with your course. Become a Service-Learning Teaching Assistant to further develop your leadership roles. Write an article for the S-Log, and you can discuss your writing abilities on your resume (and the article will surface if a potential employer researches you on the internet!). There are countless ways to become more involved with Service-Learning – just reach out to your Service-Learning Teaching Assistant and get the ball rolling!

Adapted from S-LOG post published on November 12, 2018.