A job in human services is challenging and rewarding. If you love working with people and making a difference, then you should earn a human services degree. While you’re doing so, prepare for your future career with resume-building experiences you can participate in during the summer, on the weekends or whenever you’re not in class. These experiences will not only give you a feel for what the field is like, but they’ll give you a leg up on the competition when it’s time to find a full-time job.
Attend Support Groups
Whether or not you’ve personally struggled with an issue such as alcohol or drug addition, anxiety and depression, unemployment or abuse, if you hope to have a human services career assisting people struggling with these types of issues, it helps to be exposed to people who are trying to better their situations as soon as possible. Attend a support group in your area, be honest about why you’re there and learn from what the people in attendance do for one another. Hear about their struggles and the techniques they’ve found help them keep them able to function in their daily lives. Volunteer for any events the group holds, and remain a professional, supportive individual for the group members. The experience will help you learn techniques for helping people in the future.
Human services covers a spectrum of careers, but the one thing they all have in common is helping those who are in need. Volunteering is an ideal experience for those who wish to make a career out of helping others. Not only does it look good on a resume, but it gives you an idea of the career you might want. Look into volunteering for community-building organizations such as: Homeless shelters
- Groups that build homes for the impoverished
- Women and children centers
- Addiction recovery centers
- Senior living facilities
- Schools and day care centers
Volunteering broadens your professional network. You may find as a result of a volunteer experience that you’d prefer to work with seniors than children, for example, but the people running the organization where you’ve volunteered may know a place you can work with seniors in the future and give you a recommendation.
Intern for a wage and/or college credit with a community-building and support organization in your area. You can seek official internships through the organization’s website or via your school’s career center, but you could turn a volunteer experience into a credited internship. Speak with your professors or academic advisor about applying to your school to have regular volunteer experience qualify as an internship. If you’re learning valuable on-the-job skills, the experience may qualify.
While any part-time job can benefit your resume — after all, any job could prove you’re a hard worker or work well with others —seek a job with a community-building organization. Often, the best way to get a paying job for one of these organizations is to volunteer or intern first. When a paying job at the organization is available, they’ll already know how you fit into the organization. Any organization or business with a mission to care for, assist and serve others is a wise choice. You might find a job at an addiction recovery home, for example, or with an organization that works with impoverished or disabled children. Search for human services jobs in your area or ask your professors, classmates and fellow volunteers if they know of anything you can apply for while still taking classes.
Perhaps you were once wondering: What is human services? By the time you’ve prepared for your career in the field, you should be able to answer that. Volunteering, interning, attending support groups and working part-time jobs with community-building organizations will all prepare you for a career in human services. They’re all experiences in which you reach out to others and make a difference in their lives.
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