How to Write & Include Volunteer Experience to Resume


Volunteering / Saturday, August 1st, 2020

Volunteering is one of the most underrated yet satisfying ventures that includes a wide range of activities. It is an important addition to your resume as it will tip the scales in your favor and help you get the job.  Volunteer work can be anything from helping in an animal shelter to volunteering your expertise to assist a business. It gives hiring managers a chance to peak at who you are as a person and for you to show dedication, empathy, and ambition.  You may be an established volunteer in various positions or have one long-term placement, but in both cases, you’ll catch the eye of recruiters and have an advantage to other candidates. We at VolunteerMark have collected several tips to upgrade your resume.

Why Add Volunteer Experience to Your Resume?

According to a LinkedIn survey, 41% of hiring managers consider volunteer work as important as paid work when assessing applicants. Furthermore, 1 out of 5 employers in the U.S. hires a candidate based on their volunteer history. Volunteer experience shows employers that you take part in your community, take initiative, and work hard to make things happen. Recruiters in every industry seek skills developed while volunteering. Thus, regardless of your chosen resume template design, missing this section will lower your chances of landing the job significantly.  There are cases in which it is mandatory to include a volunteer work section in your CV/resume application.  For instance, you:

  • Have limited to none professional background (i.e. recent high school or college graduate).
  • Are changing careers, especially if it’s in a field relative to your volunteer work.
  • Have an employment gap, such as a stay-at-home mother/father or taking care of an indisposed family member.
  • Aim to point out the leadership skills you accumulated through volunteering.

Which Types of Volunteer Work Are Proper to Add? 

Apart from the obvious volunteer work in a non-profit organization like an animal shelter or orphanage, there are numerous other ways a person can be helpful.  Take a glance at the following list of possible volunteer positions you might add to your CV:

  • Sports Coach
  • Fundraiser
  • Mentor
  • Chaperone
  • Driver
  • Neighborhood Watch

How to List Volunteer Experience on Your Resume

To make a wonderful impression, it is crucial how and where you place the volunteering section in the resume.

Relevant Volunteer Experience

If your volunteering activities are relevant to the position you apply for, put it under your professional background section. List your achievements and contributions to convince recruiters you are a compelling candidate. Keep things short – explain in 1-2 sentences why you are suitable for the position.  Example: Volunteer Fundraiser, The United Way, Canton, OH, Fall 2019 

  • Recruited, coordinated, and managed 8 volunteer fundraisers.
  • Planned and promoted 3 fundraising events including an auction, car-wash, and a walk-a-thon which made over $70,000. 
  • Raised donation by 20% over the prior campaign.

Non-Relevant Volunteer Experience

There are cases where volunteering has brought a candidate new qualifications, which don’t correspond to the position they apply for. If your situation is similar, it is best to create a separate resume section. Include basic information without expanding to the full responsibilities of the role. However, don’t undermine your experience – take the time to explain your time spent volunteering. Highlight transferable skills you acquired while doing volunteer work such as communication, teamwork, organization, motivation, or leadership Example Volunteer, Habitat for Humanity, Atlanta, GA, Spring 2016

  • Coordinated and supervised work parties that build 10 homes for underprivileged families.
  • Planned and launched an initiative that raised offerings of used furniture and other household items for those in need.
  • Organized a beneficial concert to raise community awareness of the organization’s ideas and contributions.

How to Put Volunteer Work on a Resume

The whole idea of altering your resume in different ways is to please potential employers. When it comes to volunteering work, it bodes well to write detailed bullet points in order to impress a hiring manager/recruiter.  Check the following volunteer resume samples: The wrong way:

  • An administrative assistant at St. Hugo of the Hills Parish.
  • Volunteer at Rescue Earth.
  • Volunteer at Red Cross.

The proper way:

  • Volunteer administrative assistant at St. Hugo of the Hills Parish. Supervised and taught 14 volunteers to help serve lunch at the Baldwin Soup Kitchen in Pontiac.
  • As a volunteer at Rescue Earth, I led 10 workers to implement a zero-waste initiative. 
  • Planned and launched three blood donation campaigns at Red Cross.

If you have gathered experience with professional solutions, you can add a separate list for the various products, tools, and type of systems used. Know-how with companies like Nextiva could provide evidence of corporate-grade skills and serve as proof to set you apart from any other candidate.

Additional Tips for Listing Volunteer Experience 

  • Use action verbs. Avoid poor grammar and seek help in case of uncertainty. Take the opportunity to switch things up a bit. Weak or overused verbs create a bad impression and make you look unprofessional. Thus, use action verbs and show recruiters you are an ambitious and dedicated candidate.
  • Include keywords from the job ad. Identify essential keywords from the position’s description. Then, ponder on your volunteer work to see how to display the skills you acquired by using the keywords present in the job offer. 
  • Proofread. People are prone to make mistakes, which is why it is vital to proofread yourself or find someone to help you out.
  • Stay positive. Focus on the work you do and how it helps the community rather than the negative aspects that you want to change.

Conclusion

Voluntary experiences are undoubtedly career-enhancing even when they do not correspond to the exact line of work you seek. Increase your chances of landing that dream job and include your volunteer work on your resume. However, have in mind that a volunteer experience section might eat up a lot of space in your resume.  Keep things short and to the point, and tailor your volunteer experience up to the perfect resume! 

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