Volunteer Work on a Resume

Add your volunteer work to give your resume something extra

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Adding voluntary work to a resume could be just what you need to show potential employers you mean business.

Volunteer work covers a wide range of activities and can vastly improve your chances of getting an interview for your ideal job if you know how to put volunteer work on your resume in a way that shows your strengths, dedication and enthusiasm.

Jobseekers learn new skills or gain experience everyday through a variety of tasks, whether in their academic career, occupation or through hobbies in their free-time.

One of the most underrated but awarding activities that people participate in is volunteer work. This could be anything from the more typical volunteering your time and energy helping out in an animal shelter to volunteering your expertise in order to improve the workings of a business.

You may be a seasoned volunteer in various roles or have just one long-term placement but in both cases you’ll have something to shout about that will stand out on your resume and mean hiring managers take an interest in your application.

Check out the following guide on how to include volunteer experience in your resume to ensure you get the best shot at securing an interview.

Some people may consider that they have not been a volunteer but if you have been an active member of a nonprofit organization, a school association, involved in community service or have helped out with fundraising or event planning, you have volunteered and have most likely benefited from doing so by earning skills and experience which you can demonstrate on your resume.


How to add Volunteer Work on a resume

How to include volunteer work on a resume will depend on the type of resume format you choose to use, as you may wish to highlight the unpaid work experience as an extra activity or you may wish to incorporate the positions in your job history.

Candidates have the possibility to include a resume section devoted to volunteer positions which explains, similarly to the professional work experience section, the position occupied and the company or association name.

You can also list the responsibilities and tasks undertaken and any outstanding achievements which you have accomplished if the position or company is relevant to your professional profile or the vacancy on offer.

This will vary if you choose a combination or functional resume as opposed to a  chronological layout and jobseekers will need to fit the skills and appropriate information from each position as suitable.

In cases where your volunteer work has brought you certain skills or new qualifications but the positions do not directly correspond to the industry or position that you are applying to, it is advisable to create a separate resume section with the basic information and simply include the abilities or certificates without expanding on the responsibilities of the role.

For expert assistance on how to write a winning resume including work experience, you could use an online resume builder or construct yours from a resume template using the practical examples as a guide.

Why include your volunteer work on a resume

Including volunteer work on your resume could be what helps you convince a prospective employer that you have what it takes over other candidates.

If you’re wondering why put volunteer work on your resume, look no further because we can think of a multitude of reasons that explain how adding volunteer work to a resume can benefit you.

As mentioned, you’ve probably done a lot more volunteering than you originally thought so whether you have a long career history or you’re just started out, those extra activities do help to show potential employers how you have grown your skill set and where you have learnt new abilities or put them into practise.

When you include examples of your achievements in voluntary positions you are also displaying the outcome of your personal involvement and thus providing the hiring manager with concrete cases of how you will be the perfect fit for their business.

Another reason for including voluntary work on your resume is that it demonstrates your willingness to be involved and make change happen. This display of initiative and sense of community is a highly sought-after trait that many companies and organizations look for in their candidates.

It will not only make you stand out from the crowd during the application process but could also place you in high esteem among other staff or superiors if you are able to continue this positive contribution towards the business. Public relations and the reputation of social responsibility are high priorities for many enterprises nowadays and having someone on their team with voluntary work under their belt can bring many advantages to the company in the form of networking, new clients, experience, specialist knowledge etc.

volunteer work for resume

Additionally, many employers consider voluntary work as worthwhile as paid employment to a candidate’s experience, which means that they may even be looking out for it as a basic element of your resume.

Also, something as simple as providing a basic insight into what interests you as an individual is a positive aspect on a resume because hiring managers spend hours looking through resumes each time they need to employ a new member of staff and any candidate who mentions voluntary work on a resume is bound to catch their eye.

If you have been unemployed, or taken a leave of absence for any reason from a paid position and remained active with voluntary work, this shows a great dedication on your part that speaks highly of you on any job application

Tips for adding your volunteer experience

Voluntary work is an excellent addition to any resume. Check out these tips for including volunteer work on your resume.

  • Firstly, it is vital to remember to only include volunteer work that is relevant to your profile and the role or industry you’re applying to.
  • In all possible cases, quantify any examples of your responsibilities and accomplishments.
  • Include only the more recent and critical positions or activities.
  • If you decide to list various voluntary positions, either as part of the work experience section or in a separate part, it is advisable to do so in reverse chronological order.
  • Depending on the resume structure you select, it is recommendable to follow the layout of the work experience positions by including the information in the same format and order: organization name, dates, position and description where appropriate.
  • There may be certain positions, companies, sectors etc. you would prefer to omit and this is perfectly acceptable if the voluntary work you undertook is not relevant or appropriate for your application or reveals information that you do not want to share with prospective employers.

Volunteer experience is fast becoming one of the more paramount sections of a resume due to the increasingly positive response it receives from hiring managers in job applications.

This is especially true for student resumes, whether seeking part-time employment or graduates, and entry-level resumes and any candidates looking to change career or returning to the workforce from an absence.

That said, professional resumes also benefit to a great extent from including volunteer work in their application due to the wide scope that this aspect can cover and the endless skills and experience it offers a jobseeker.

Related Volunteer Work on your resume

Which types of volunteer work are appropriate for your resume? Find out what related volunteer work you can put on a resume.

Apart from the obvious volunteer work such as a position in a nonprofit organization like a homeless shelter or orphanage, there are many ways a person can volunteer and perhaps not consider it in the same light but adding it on your resume could be a great help to your application.

Take a glance at the following list of possible related volunteer work you could include on your resume either for the experience, knowledge or skills it has given you.

  • Sports Coach
  • Member of a not-for-profit organization
  • Helping at events
  • Fundraising
  • Mentoring
  • Chaperoning
  • Offering services for free to neighbors, friends etc.
  • School associations
  • Providing transport
  • Community Service
  • Neighborhood Watch
  • Counseling etc.

Voluntary experiences are nearly always career-enhancing even when it may not be in the exact line of work you’re looking for, so don’t be afraid to improve your chances at landing that dream job by including your volunteer work on your resume, along with your work experience, contact information, skills, education and  resume objective  or qualification summary, where you can even make reference to the abilities or certificates gained by your participation.

If you need extra resume help, you could try out an online resume creator or take a look at the other guides available at ResumeCoach for other resume advice from career experts.

Last modified on May 6th, 2020

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