Volunteering can add value to your resume – and helps the community at the same time

by Olga Makin

“Your volunteering experience made you stand out!” exclaimed my new employer after I had landed my first paralegal role. I was so excited; I had not realised the incredible value of volunteering and that it is a win-win.

Being involved in volunteer work, whether law-related or not, is an invaluable addition to your resume. Volunteering sets you apart from other job candidates. It demonstrates your commitment to causes beyond your professional interests, showcasing a well-rounded personality. A volunteer role can lead to possible employment at the relevant organisation you are volunteering at, or it can help you land a job elsewhere. Further, volunteering allows you to network, which could open doors to job opportunities and valuable guidance. Employers view volunteering as a reflection of your core values and great evidence of your people skills, which they evaluate to determine whether you fit within the company culture. It can also help you pinpoint future career paths you may not have considered otherwise.

Volunteering is particularly valuable to your resume if you have limited legal work experience and are trying to land a paralegal role. It is a credible way to gain real work experience. Community legal centres offer great training to their volunteers, which employers recognise, and, of course, offer excellent practical skills. Also, volunteering at community legal centres can help improve your confidence in communicating with senior lawyers. These communication skills will be valuable for the rest of your career.

Moreover, committing to a volunteer role can allow you to accrue Brennan hours for the Brennan Justice and Leadership program, which will be forever immortalised on your academic transcript, further enhancing your resume, another great addition employers love.

Finally, volunteering for the sake of volunteering is also incredibly rewarding and a fantastic way to impact your local community and the world positively.