When you’re crafting your resume and detailing all your work experience, are you including your volunteer work on your resume? If you’re like most applicants, chances are that you’re unsure whether that type of work has any place on your resume. Many job seekers also make the mistake of thinking volunteer work on a resume is not important.
According to a LinkedIn 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. But guess what…
LinkedIn also found that more than four of every ten hiring managers said that they consider an applicant’s volunteer work experience just as valuable as the experience gained from paid employment!
With that in mind, why aren’t you including your own volunteer work within your resume? The fact is that volunteer work that has some relevance to the job you’re seeking is what you need. Relevant volunteer work could be just the thing to capture that employer’s attention. Of course, to use that information effectively, you need to know how to include volunteer work on 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. 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, so if that firm has specific causes that it supports, be sure to include volunteer work that is closely related to those causes or similar in nature.
How to List Volunteer Work on Resume
When you’re listing your volunteer work, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:
- Always list your most relevant work first. An example of this could involve a situation where you’re a website developer whose 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.
- 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.
- Exclude any volunteer work that might be controversial. You also shouldn’t list anything that would let the employer know things about you that you don’t want to share. Unlike actual paid jobs, there is no downside to omitting any volunteer effort.
- 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 expirience 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.
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:
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.
Putting It All Together
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 to his resume, your volunteer work experience 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!