More than four of every ten hiring managers said that they consider volunteer work experience just as valuable as the experience gained from paid employment.
This information comes from research involving a group of 70,000+ people over 10 years. According to the same survey, nearly nine out of every ten professionals had some type of volunteer work experience, but only about half of them bothered to list it on their resume.
Including volunteer work on your resume is a simple way to increase your odds of getting hired by 27%. And chances are, you've already volunteered!
Here is a quick guide on how to add your volunteerism to your resume.
Do Your Due Diligence: Research the Employer
Before you just start listing every bit of volunteer experience you have, take a little time to research the company you want to apply to. Find out how much emphasis the firm places on volunteerism and community activism. You want your volunteer details to reflect the company that you’re trying to join. If that firm has specific causes that it supports, be sure to include volunteer work that is closely related to those causes!
An Example of Volunteer Work on a Resume
When you’re listing your volunteer work under its own section, you should give that section its own title and carefully include the relevant details. Here’s a typical example of this type of volunteer work listing:
Fundraising Effort, The Human Project, EveryTown, YourState, December 2010 to Present – Event Organizer
Recruited 30 fundraiser personnel and personally trained them
Organized, marketed, and launched a total of 12 funding events. These included a concert, carnival, ballroom gala, museum auction, and daytime conferences that yielded more than $200,000 in pledged donations.
Generated a 30% increase in contribution growth between 2014 and 2016.
View 200+ more professional resume samples for all industries, along with a guide to writing resumes from our career experts.
As you can see, the key is to list not only your accomplishments during your time as a volunteer, but the actual impact that your efforts had on the charitable endeavor. In this case, we’ve listed specific skills--project management, organization, and training--as well as identifiable achievements. We even include details to demonstrate the value that you brought to the organization.
How to List Volunteer Work on Resume
When you’re listing your volunteer work, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:
1. List relevant volunteer experience first
Always list your most relevant work first within your volunteer work section. Unlike the chronological order of your resume's work experience, you want the most compelling experience in your volunteer section to come first.
An example of this could involve a situation where you’re a website developer who has done volunteer work designing a site for a charitable organization. If you’ve also volunteered to run a community event or similar non-website related jobs, then it makes sense to list your actual web development volunteer work first to ensure that it’s properly highlighted for the hiring manager.
2. Only include the best volunteer experiences
Be selective about which work you include. Think about what you’re trying to draw attention to, and then focus on those volunteer efforts.
For example, if your volunteer work involved managing others or coordinating events, that could be an important thing to include when applying for any management position!
Don't include volunteer work that might cost you a job.
Exclude any volunteer work that might be controversial. Not all causes you support need to come up in your work, such as support for a political candidate or helping at an event for an issue you wouldn't want to discuss in an interview.
You also shouldn't list anything that would let the employer know things about you that you don’t want to share. Unlike paid jobs, there is no downside to omitting any volunteer efforts.
3. Make your volunteer work stand out
Whenever possible, try to place your volunteer work in its own section. While volunteer work on your resume can bolster your presentation, it should never distract from your proven work skills and history of achievements.
There are exceptions to every rule, of course. If you’ve spent some time out of the workforce, and spent that time doing volunteer work, then you may want to include it within your work experience. If you do, simply relabel your work history section as “Experience". Ensure that the experience is detailed and listed like work experience.
Be brief when listing volunteer work, but clear and concise as well. In include the name of the organization and its location, the dates you volunteered, your title – if you had one, and what you achieved during your time as a volunteer.
Whether you’re a college grad with little paid experience, someone who’s been out of the workforce for a while, or just someone who needs to add a little more power when writing a resume with no work experience, your volunteering can be an incredible tool for showcasing your skills. With the right approach and commitment to highlighting those skills, the inclusion of those volunteer details can provide your resume with that something extra. This helps to differentiate it from the competition.
Good luck with your job search!
Do you need more help displaying your volunteer work so it helps you land your next job? Hire one of Zipjob's professional resume writers!
The ZipJob team is made up of professional writers located across the USA and Canada with backgrounds in HR, recruiting, career coaching, job placement, and professional writing.