Volunteer work can be a great addition to your resume. Find out how can you make sure that you’re adding it and talking about it in the most effective way.
How to List Volunteer Work on a Resume
Volunteer Work on a Resume
Volunteer work is a great way to fully develop your resume, especially if you don’t have very much work history outside of it. Volunteer work can also say something about your personality, which can be important in many different jobs, especially entry-level jobs. If you’re interested in including volunteer work on your resume, then you need to do it in the most effective way possible. Here’s what you should know about adding volunteer work on a resume.
Is Putting Volunteer Work on Your Resume Actually Important?
Absolutely. One of the most important reasons that people use volunteer work on a resume is because it’s a great way to add to your work experience; people who don’t have very much work experience in the traditional sense may be able to include skills in a volunteer position, proving a great work ethic and professional experience in unconventional methods.
However, volunteer experience is not only important for that reason. Hiring managers also love to see volunteer resume work. 82% of interviewers have said they actively prefer a candidate with volunteer experience, and this can even be true when you’re doing volunteer work that doesn’t relate to your job title.
When to Add Volunteer Work on Your Resume
So, when should you include your volunteer jobs on your resume? There are a few questions you should ask yourself before you add volunteer jobs to your relevant experience section.
First of all, how recent was this volunteer work? If you haven’t volunteered at a location within the last two to three years, then you’ll probably want to avoid putting it on your resume directly. This may raise more questions than it answers; an interviewer may wonder why you haven’t done any volunteer work since then, rather than being impressed that you did it. You can still include this information in your LinkedIn profile.
Second, are you moving into a new industry where you don’t have much relevant experience? If you’re going through a career change, for example, then you might have many years of experience but not in using the skill set that you’re trying to showcase for this new job. Volunteer work can help you fill in the gaps in your experience.
Third, does this volunteer work show off specific skills you see in the job description? If a potential employer saw your volunteer work, would they be able to easily connect it to your current job? For example, working in an animal shelter may be better suited to a career in healthcare than it would be a career in software development. More well-connected volunteer activities work in your favor on your resume during a recruiter reviews.
Lastly, how many years of experience do you have in general? If you have more than two years of experience, then you probably don’t need to include volunteer work. If it takes up a lot of your time and demonstrates your character and abilities, it can be added to make your resume more detailed.
Tips for Adding Volunteer Work to Your Resume
There are two options for showing off your volunteer work to a recruiter during your job search. Depending on what you want to emphasize in your job application, you can do either of these options.
Create a Volunteer Section
The first is to create an entire volunteer experience section. This is a separate section where you can list your volunteer experience separately from paid work you’ve done. If you don’t have any other experience, like if you’re a recent graduate, then you may substitute the volunteer experience section for the typical work experience section in a resume builder. Otherwise, you may have both a work experience section and a volunteer work section, which you could name something like “Community Service” or “Volunteer Experience.”
List Volunteer Work With All Work Experience
The second is to list volunteer work alongside your other work in the work experience section. This typically won’t differentiate between volunteer work and non-volunteer work. You will include the work experience and other types of work alongside each other.
Both of these can work for different types of people. If you have very little experience overall, then separating your work and volunteering won’t be as beneficial. You also might want to keep the two together if your volunteer work bolsters your skills section and is considered relevant experience. However, if you have lots of experience or your volunteer work is completely separate from your work experience, you may want a resume template that allows you to separate the two.
FAQ: Volunteer Work on a Resume
Listing many types of volunteer work can be beneficial for a resume. This can include community service, work for nonprofit organizations, and fundraising for charities. Volunteer work can often demonstrate key skills that you wouldn’t experience otherwise, and it can help separate you from other job seekers that don’t have any volunteer work history. However, if you’re trying to choose a specific type of volunteer work to spotlight, then opt for the ones that fit the role you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a veterinarian position, listing volunteer work at an animal shelter can help push your resume ahead of other candidates without this experience.
Yes. You can highlight volunteer work in any and all areas of your resume and cover letter. For example, you can include it in your resume summary and talk about skills you may have learned about, like fundraising, in your skills section. If you’re looking for more insight into how you can highlight volunteer work in your cover letter, then use the ResumeNerd cover letter builder.
Almost certainly if it’s listed on your resume. Just like a job interviewer is likely to ask you about other elements of your resume as a whole, they’ll likely ask you about volunteer work if you list it on your resume. Prepare to answer interview questions about your volunteer work just like any other type of work you list.