Leadership Potential: The Value of Volunteering

 

Giving back — whether that be to your community, your organization, or your profession — says something about you to employers. But does your willingness to help others via volunteer activities translate to better job prospects? It depends, say two leaders in respiratory care.

Qualities she’s looking for

As respiratory programs director for Integrated Respiratory Solutions, Vrati Doshi, MSc, RRT, regularly interviews RTs for job positions.

“I look for someone who is selfless, trustworthy, and kind, as well as someone who can multitask,” she said. Volunteering for a worthy cause suggests to her that the person in question has all three of those qualities.

The multitasking aspect is especially important to her when it comes to hiring.

“Volunteering during your time off is commendable as you are balancing work life, family life, and your commitment to a cause,” she said. People who demonstrate the ability to set time aside to be a part of an organization they believe in is someone she would want in her department or team.

Unfortunately, she continues, many people have removed volunteering sections from their resumes. She would like to see them reinstated.

“I find it highly valuable to see what others do on their time away from work. It shows their interests outside of just work, humanizes them, and gives us something fun to talk about during the interview process,” she said.

The type of volunteer work matters

Jack Fried, MA, RRT, is director of respiratory care and neurodiagnostic services at St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT. He believes volunteer activities are important too. But to him, not all volunteer activities carry the same weight when it comes to hiring or promotions.

“The value of volunteering depends on what it is and if it can be verified,” he emphasized. To him, volunteering for the AARC, the state respiratory care society, or associated groups like the American Lung Association or American Heart Association, holds more value than volunteering out in the community.

He’s also impressed by therapists with a history of volunteering for extra duty or responsibility on the job.

“Volunteering by employees says a lot about commitment, work ethic, and professionalism, especially when one simply picks up a function and just does it,” Fried said.

He offers a couple good examples from his own experience.

“The first-time inventory had to be done with the department secretary on leave, two therapists took over from what I started and finished it — far more efficiently than I could,” he recalled.

The next time was when supplies from different areas had to be moved to a new area at the last minute so a construction project to proceed.

“Once plant operations had moved the items, three therapists took it upon themselves to organize the supplies by function and label them,” Fried said.

He believes RTs who exhibit that kind of “take the initiative and get it done” attitude would endear themselves to any manager.

Show and tell

So, the bottom line is, look for opportunities to serve your profession, your patients, and your organization — and don’t be afraid to show them off when applying for a new job. Managers will take notice and see you as someone they can rely on to go above and beyond for their department.