Fellow-in-Training Series: Volunteering Builds New Skills that Help Advance Your Career

Nov 09, 2018

Volunteer roles are real-world ways to exhibit both reliability and enthusiasm. They also signify a person’s willingness to go above and beyond the minimum expectations to contribute to a greater whole, which can be key to moving forward in a career.

For ASCP member and volunteer Cody Carter, MD, FASCP, the introduction to ASCP came in medical school, when he received an ASCP Academic Excellence Award (now the ASCP Medical Student Award). Later, after he began his residency, he observed that his mentors included two past ASCP presidents, Barbara McKenna and David Keren, and then-ASCP Resident Council Chair Jennifer Stall.

The combination of his gratitude for the award and the distinguished mentors who were involved in ASCP led him to inquire about the Society. He decided to volunteer as an ASCP Resident Representative to his residency program, and later went on to serve on the Resident Council.

“It seems to help to get your foot in the door and work your way up. It not only helps benefit the volunteer to gradually learn more and more about an organization, but the members of the organization also come to see and value your continued commitment to the success of the group,” says Dr. Carter, who subsequently served as Chair of the Resident Council.

Today, reflecting back on that experience, he encourages those coming up the ranks to also get involved, by volunteering with professional societies such as ASCP.

“One piece of advice I share with prospective fellows is that residencies and employers are often looking for two things, reliability and enthusiasm,” he says. “I would want to hire team players—individuals who will look for opportunities to fill in the gaps and be a utility to the group’s or organization’s success.”

“Without similar roles to highlight, it can be difficult to communicate that you have those qualities in a concrete way. For me personally, I believe that my involvement in ASCP leadership roles signified to my future employer that I am capable of being a future leader in their department and ‘going the extra mile.’”

Interested in learning how you can volunteer with ASCP? Click here.