Thursday, 11 September 2008

In Search of a Resume...



You know, in Malaysia, chances are, when you walk into an office offering to become a volunteer, people will gape at you.

Unless the office/organisation already has a volunteer program and/or is used to people walking in offering their services (for example, medical students who want extra credits and/or experience), there will be a flurry of activity trying to figure out what to do with this new volunteer. Some have barely ever heard of such a thing...

In Canada, no such thing...



Voluntary work is very much a part of their school curriculum and way of life. So much so that if you volunteer for something, chances are, you might get turned away.



Like the DayCare centre on my university grounds. I tried volunteering there with another friend, but were told that chances are, we won't get to. Why? Because they reserve places for all students majoring in nursing and education to do their placements and compulsory volunteer work. So UNLESS someone backs out, we don't have a place!


I also saw a sign asking for volunteers to work with children (organisation name held for privacy), somewhere in town. I emailed the contact number pinned on the board, and voila, I was given a whole bunch of forms to fill, including sample questions for me to answer, and was given a date and time for me to be interviewed by the board of directors or committee. And, was asked to bring a resume.

I'm like ???


I was prepared that the criteria would be strict, and brought a letter of reference along with contact information, but resume?



And if you're thinking the sample questions are easy and straight-forward, they're not.


Examples of questions asked (paraphrased, and in no particular order):-

1) What kind of discipline do you approve and disapprove of, and why?
2) How would you deal with a child who is not listening to you?
3) What kind of child would you best work with and why?
4) What is confidentiality?

And then this whole long list of questions is followed by possible scenarios of a particular child, and how I would react to it.



By the end of the document, I was already feeling like I wrote a thesis.


All this to volunteer!

How professional is that?!? It's really good though. I salute the professionalism. It just goes to show that it really is no nonsense at all, and that they are serious about the work they do.

Oh did I mentioned they run police-checks as well?


I also checked in with the Disability Services Office (DSO) on campus, and they also gave me a list of things expected of a volunteer, like calling in advance if I wasn't going to make it and deadlines were to be met if volunteering to take notes for the office.


My head is swarming at the moment. I didn't know to volunteer I needed a resume =(

Anyway, I asked around, and ended up signing up for a 'How to write a resume from scratch' workshop next week. The university knows how important resumes are, so they're opening workshops for all these dungus like me who are quite...blur...

Turns out, there are a lot of dungus around ;)



Oh well, at least there's help available!

14 comments:

whre4arthou said...

Ahh.. notice I have wanted to but haven't yet volunteered in London??

Wei Chieh got me a volunteer application form last week and they needed 2 referees from me!

Like hah???? Seriously ahhh...

Its still sitting on my table staring at my face..

Ms B said...

Yup! I had to do something similar when I was searching for a nanny for my daughter. They showed their certs, police check, references etc.

Of course they are good, hence the higher wage.

So get your resume started! *winks*

Anonymous said...

The culture is the complete opposite. In UK, they (used to) ask you a lot of questions before accepting you on board whilst at home due to the lack of volunteers, everyone is taken onboard straight away

the Razzler said...

Dear Daphne..

I think it's a good practice!! At least with the thorough screening, only genuine, qualified & sincere volunteers are being absorbed.

I am sure you will pass with flying colours. All the best to you.. :) :)

Pi Bani said...

Oh, we do interview (a very very informal one) those who want to volunteer in our NGO and if they are accepted they will be sort of put under probation first. And the form they have to fill in is just a single page form and definitely no resumes needed!

If got to answer all those questions you mentioned, most probably I terus tak jadi volunteer lah kot...

J.T. said...

Hi Daphne

To volunteer here (example for Red Cross with a hospital), one has to go through blood test to make sure one is immunised. Also, they run background check. I had to go through a three-part course on Privacy and Security Acts, do a short test and be certified. They are very careful who they let in. I had a file of paperwork to fill up too with a brief history of the last two jobs (full time, part time or volunteer).

In a way, this is good. They are being professional about it.

All the best with your application.

mott said...

It's true abt the police checks. Too many sickos (here) try to volunteer for work (with children). Some even need you to have some sort of childcare certification!
Best of luck!!!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Ae Mi,

Aiya, get to it! It is a lot of writing and paperwork, but it's worth it ma...

Go get it done, and the rewards are multifold one ler...

We can compare notes then!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Ms B,

Haha...I got no wage wan ler...So with all the resume, certs, background check etc also, still no wage wan...Volunteer ma!

But it's good to know you get good nannies who actually know what they're doing. Over here, I heard if teens wanna babysit, they gotta go for training...

Like I saw an old advert in the paper (for summer stuff) advertising offering babysitting training workshops for teens/youngsters 11-25 who wanna babysit during the summer for cash.

The workshop includes things like first-aid, changing baby's nappies, feeding etc, and come with a hefty price and a certificate...

Although for the life of me, I can't see how an 11-year-old would be trusted with the life of a baby with no adult supervision...

They're a child themselves and need a babysitter!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Anon 20:42,

At home, for those with screening processes, they still do some form of screening...But very informal and for formality only...

Over here, very scary...But the logic I suppose is there are probably more scary people here! ;)

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Uncle Jimmy,

Yeap! It is good in its own way. It really makes sure the pool of volunteers are very high-calibre ones...

But I'm wondering what about people who've never had any experience...

WHERE and HOW do they start?

My application form asked for previous experience.

What if I'm just starting out? Everybody has to start somewhere...

Daphne Ling said...

Hello Kak Pi,

Haha...The interview process there is more for formality lar, right? I know what you mean...

Well, in a way, it's ok for Malaysia...

Over here, volunteering is like a way-of-life. You HAVE to do it...

And because you HAVE to do it, you probably have a lot of people who are doing it for all the wrong reasons...

Like, for example, you could have a person who has a paedophilic-inclination who instead of volunteering stuffing envelopes (where it's 'safe'), decides he/she will go volunteer with kids!

In Malaysia, volunteer work is kinda uncommon, so if people actually step up and volunteer when they don't need to, it probably means they are sincere...

That's what I think...

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Jacqui,

Uh-huh...Yeah, I need to get my immunisation records checked too, I forgot! I chose to work with children and in the hospital, so definitely they will get that checked!

As for courses, yeap, they have that in store for me too. But first, I gotta pass the form-filling and interview part!

=(

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Mott,

Yeah, I think I pretty much covered the part about 'sickos'and childcare certificate up there already...Saw your comment too late...

Well, will take it in a good light...

By the time I'm done, I'll be a 'professional' volunteer!