Be Pro-active, Gain Career Experience by Volunteering with Community Non-profit Organizations!


Students who are searching for summer internship/co-op opportunities this year are feeling somewhat ambivalent due to the pandemic’s negative impact on the labor market.  Students are aware that summer experiential learning opportunities will probably be limited, so they are considering alternative options.

In addition to internships/co-ops, students may want to consider volunteering at community non-profit organizations as a prime option for gaining experience and developing career-related skills. It is the perfect time for students to volunteer and make a positive impact in their communities.  Students would benefit by gaining knowledge and developing valuable skills while community organizations would welcome additional support, especially since funding sources are likely to decrease this year.  This mutual relationship provides a win-win opportunity for all involved.

Students whose performance is satisfactory may request recommendations from community organization administrators/staff, which is highly valued for internship/co-op and job applications. Also, there is always the possibility that volunteer service could develop into experiential or employment opportunities going forward.

Tips for Volunteering at Community Non-profit Organizations:

  • Assess the knowledge, skills, and experience you currently possess.
  • Determine the number of hours that you would like to devote to volunteering including specific days/times of availability.
  • Update your resume and schedule a career appointment for a resume critique at the UConn Center for Career Development.
  • Research community non-profit organization websites that interest you (refer to the list of volunteer resources) while considering the type of organization that could benefit from your talents and/or experience.
  • Approach community organizations that you already have relationships with first and inquire about volunteering on a regular, formal basis.
  • Once you select the community organization of choice, complete their online volunteer application form or if that option is unavailable, email the volunteer coordinator.
  • Regard your volunteer experience seriously and learn as much as possible.
  • Perform your volunteer duties in a professional manner to receive a commendable letter of recommendation upon your departure.

 Brief List of Volunteer Resources:

Contact the UConn Center for Career Development for career coaching services and/or additional career resources at

Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

By Robin Shefts
Robin Shefts Assistant Director (Hartford Campus)