How To Include Volunteer Work On A Resume And Snag An Interview

by Heidi Cope
Get The Job - 12 months ago

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Writing a resume can sometimes get stressful when you only have a page to detail out your best accomplishments. A resume is a document that gives an accurate snapshot of you as a potential employee. It should be well balanced, showing a combination of skills, work experiences, education and other assets that can set you apart from the rest.

What types of things can help make you stand out? People often list publications, job training courses and volunteer experience on their resume.

If you have volunteer experience and are hesitant to include it on your resume, here are some things you should keep in mind:

  • Adding volunteer work looks great on a resume and is a great way to fill gaps in employment, professional experience, and leadership.
  • Frame your volunteer experiences like traditional work experiences if the volunteer work is within your industry or if you’ve spent a substantial amount of time with the organization.
  • Quantify what you’ve accomplished as a volunteer and highlight your deliverables.

Now that you understand the big picture of adding volunteer work to a resume, keep reading to learn which small details you shouldn’t miss when including volunteer work.

Does Volunteer Work Look Good On a Resume

Adding volunteer work can help make your resume more competitive, so it is a good idea to add it to your resume. If you are reading this wondering why volunteering would be a good thing to include for a position in IT, for example, keep scrolling because adding volunteer experience might land you the job.

For some industries, volunteer work is a highly valuable asset to include on a resume. So if you are applying for a position in the non-profit sector or are looking for a position in academia, definitely add those volunteer experiences. But volunteering isn’t just for those folks — it is a great thing to consider doing no matter what industry you work in.

Adding volunteer experience to your resume can help boost your application. Including volunteer experiences show that you have the drive to help your community. It shows that you are interested in being a part of something else for reasons outside of earning money and highlights your non-work-related interests.

While any volunteering is good, certain volunteering experiences are better than others when including them on your resume. The best volunteering you can do is volunteering within your industry. For example, if you are working in IT, then volunteering at your local library and helping teach community members computer skills would be a great asset to include on your resume. Similarly, if you work as a nurse, then volunteering at low-cost clinics would be a great choice.

Is Volunteer Work Important On a Resume?

For certain types of job-seekers, volunteer experience can make or break your job application. Volunteering can be an incredibly valuable experience that can help bulk up resumes that have little professional experience — we’re looking at you, recent grads.

If you are currently out of work, volunteering can help fill gaps in your resume’s timeline. Showing volunteer experience shows that you are dedicated to applying yourself even when you’re between jobs. Many hiring managers consider relevant volunteer positions as beneficial as paid positions. For example, if you are a volunteer social media manager for a non-profit, that will look very favorably for you if you are applying for social media management positions.

So if you are currently between jobs or are looking for ways to beef up your resume, seek out volunteer roles. It is better to volunteer at one place consistently for a long time versus jumping around from place to place. Doing so shows commitment to an organization and you will likely develop leadership roles over time in those organizations.

volunteer work on a resume

Source: Congerdesign

How To List Volunteer Work On a Resume

Now that you know that adding volunteer work on a resume is an amazing idea for most applicants, you might be wondering where to add volunteer experiences on a resume.

There are two ways you can add volunteer work on a resume: within your work experiences section or in a separate section at the bottom of your resume dedicated to volunteer work.

If you have significant employment gaps or sparse employment history, consider adding the volunteer experiences to your work history section. It will help bulk up that section and fill in work gaps. When adding volunteer experiences to your work history section, be careful which ones you list. Consider adding the volunteer experiences that are related to your industry to the work history section and the experiences that are unrelated to a separate section at the bottom.

When you add volunteer experience to the work history section, format it the same as you would for any other official position. Include the job title you would have if you worked formally in that capacity, but add “volunteer” in front of it. If you add it to a separate section at the bottom, you can make the listing as brief as you want. If the role is not related to your job or job skills at all, you may just want to list your position and which organization you volunteered for — you don’t have to detail out each experience.

As with anything you include on your resume, make sure you can quantify what you’ve accomplished in that role and highlight the skills you’ve developed or used while volunteering. For example, if you were a volunteer coordinator, list how many volunteers you managed. If you work regularly at a soup kitchen, detail out how many hours you’ve worked there and the approximate number of people you’ve served.

In addition to quantifying your volunteer deliverables, take care of how you write your work summaries. Remember that many resumes are first read by a computer. When going through a resume scanner, the computer is looking for keywords. Frame your volunteer work with keywords important to the job you are applying for.

Summary On Why You Should Include Volunteer Work On A Resume

Forgetting to add volunteer work to a resume is a critical error for many job applicants. Many hiring managers are looking for diverse and well-rounded job applicants. They want to know that you can do your job well, but they also want to know if you have interests outside of work.

Volunteering is a great way to learn more about your community, find hobbies and learn skills outside of work. While many older job seekers probably have a lot of work experience to include on their resume and may not need to list any volunteer experiences, recent grads and applicants who have a work gap need to use volunteer work to help them land the job.

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