How to Write a Cover Letter for a Volunteer Position
Most students would think that landing a volunteer position is easier than landing a traditional paid job position. Wrong belief, as volunteering is no longer what it used to be. Volunteers are now expected to show as many signs of professionalism as job employees do, and a bit more.
If you're looking for volunteer opportunities, here's what you need to know first.
The majority of volunteer program managers will be eager to find out more about you. They'll need to make sure that your reasons for applying are genuine, they want to see what drives and motivates you, and they want to know whether you're a responsible person that they can count on.
Your resume is important and so is your previous volunteering experience. However, you should quickly acknowledge the fact that your cover letter is the factor that weights the most. If you develop an amazing cover letter for volunteer work, your chances of landing the position you want will significantly improve. Here's how you can do that.
1. Do Your Homework
Before applying for a volunteer work, you need to do your homework well. Some organizations appear to be extremely professional at the surface, but after further research, you will be able to see their real face which is not always beautiful.
Scout their social media channels and talk to volunteers who used to work with the organization. Find out the reasons for their leaving and ensure that you're applying in the right place!
2. State Your Genuine Purpose
Volunteering does not suppose compensations, and you should know that by now. So if money's not what you're after, what is it then? That's the first thing your volunteer managers want to understand about your person. What the genuine reasons for applying to that type of volunteer position. If you can't find any good reasons, you shouldn't apply at all.
3. Show How You Can Help
What makes you different from other volunteers and how can you help the organization improve its performance? This is the core “message” of your letter, and you should emphasize it as well as you can. Just like businesses have a “unique selling point”, you, as a volunteer, have a unique value proposition. Display it well and you'll improve your chances landing the position that you're looking for.
4. Display Your Previous Relevant Experience
If you have any previous experience that is worth mentioning, make sure you illustrate it as well as you can. Notice how I underlined the word “worth”? That's because when it comes to cover letters, there's only a thin line between relevant and irrelevant.
If you are applying for an animal care position, mentioning that you took care of elders makes no relevance whatsoever. Put yourself in your interviewer's shoes and present only the experience that would interest him the most.
5. Be Short and Concise
If you write all your life experience, potentially useful skills, and all the other resources that you have at your disposal, you really don't know how to write a cover letter in the proper way. Whether you're applying for a volunteer position or for a regular paid job, you need to keep your letter short and concise.
No interviewer appreciates people that waste their times. Keep everything on point by stating the desired position, showcasing the relevant traits for the task, and being short on details. Further can be discussed once you're called for an interview!
6. Make Your Text Impeccable
It doesn't matter to who it's addressed and it really doesn't matter who writes it. A cover letter is a formal letter. Therefore, it should be treated with much professionalism and not contain mistakes. Impeccable grammar and spelling, a readable structure, and an easy-to-digest text. Without these, your letter will sound unprofessional and it'll minimize your odds of being called for that interview.
Crafting the perfect volunteer cover letter for is really no rocket science. Yes, you have to work for it, and yes, you have to put your mind at contribution. But, and the end of the day when the volunteer program manager calls you for a face-to-face meeting, you'll be glad you took the time!