While you don’t get paid for volunteer work, you’re still learning! Volunteering can be especially useful if you are a recent graduate or trying to change career paths. It provides the opportunity to network, and (depending on the type of work) could allow you to gain experience helpful to finding your next job.
It can be extremely beneficial to include volunteer experiences on your resume. It not only shows a company that you are a philanthropic person, but also provides a chance to highlight learned skills and accomplishments applicable to the job that might give you a competitive advantage. It could even provide a means of connecting with a potential interviewer if you two share a passion!
4 Ways to Include Volunteer Work in Your Resume
Not sure how to incorporate volunteer work into your resume? Use these four tips:
Add a Volunteer Work Section
Designate an entire segment of your resume to your community service. Follow the same format used in your work experience section, by listing the names of the organizations, dates you volunteered, title of your roles and the duties you performed. If you’ve worked with a long list of organizations, only include positions relevant to the job.
Integrate it with Work Experience
If you volunteered in a position directly applicable to your career, consider assimilating it into your work history section. Avoid using the job title of “volunteer,” as it doesn’t appropriately convey your experience. For example, if you helped coordinate construction projects for a nonprofit that builds homes for low-income residents, call yourself a project manager. State that you were a volunteer in your description, as you don’t want to mislead anyone reading your resume. This is an especially effective strategy if you volunteered during any gaps in your employment or are trying to change careers.
Work it Into Your Objective
If you are a new grad or a career changer, you may benefit from mentioning your relevant volunteer experience at the very top of your resume. Volunteer work can have a greater impact for you than a seasoned candidate, so you want to draw the reader in from the start. Your objective should be no longer than one or two short sentences.
Include it in Your Career Highlights Section
Tailor your resume to fit a specific job opportunity by writing a career summary focusing on the qualifications that make you a great fit. Summarize your skills and experience relevant to the position and be sure to work in your volunteer experience. A career highlights section is best for an experienced job seeker and should be used in place of an objective. This segment is a bit longer than an objective, but should only be a few sentences in length.
Make it clear you’re the best choice for the job.
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