Philanthropy and the Job Search: Show How Much You Care

Posted by The Editors on September 9, 2011
Philanthropy and the Job Search: Show How Much You Care
“People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” A nice little cliché, and one that I hadn’t thought about in a while—until I asked a recruiter about how students can stand out from the pack at career fairs and other networking events. He told me that he looks at experience in philanthropy on the same level as academics.

“Does the student care about something bigger than academics?” the recruiter said. “Good grades are a baseline—are they willing to help the less fortunate?”

It’s not something everyone has experience with, but those that do might not even think to include it on their resumes or mention it during interviews. (The recruiter also said leadership ranks alongside philanthropy as a non-academic distinction, but everyone who’s ever led a team, organization, or committee of any kind knows to tout that experience.)

The recruiter cited a former intern who founded a camp that hosted kids who have a parent with cancer. “She made the national connections, raised funds, and organized the activities,” he told me. That’s impressive—and praiseworthy—in itself. Know, then, that this ambitious student interned for a big IT company; that’s when this accomplish looms even larger.

Regardless of your major or the field you want to enter, think about any connections you have to working on behalf of a larger cause. Even if there’s not a space for this kind of thing on your resume, it could come up in an interview—a time when you were asked to make a sacrifice, say, or an experience where you were called on to do something outside your typical responsibilities or skill set.

Philanthropic experiences could be built into your time with a fraternity, sorority, or another student organization. You might have gathered signatures for a petition or helped fellow students to register to vote. Your band might have played at a benefit concert. An important part of the job search, of course, is thinking about yourself, but it can be just as important to show that you’re thinking of others, too.

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