More and more recruiters nowadays favor the inclusion of any relevant volunteer experience in an applicant’s resume. Volunteer work often indicates initiative, excellent communication skills, and the capacity to work in a team.
Collaborating with charities and nonprofit organizations is also a worthwhile experience if you are a fresh graduate or a job seeker with limited professional experience.
This article will show you the ropes on the importance of adding your volunteer experiences to your credentials. You will also learn when it is best to include your charitable advocacies and how to cite them in your resume like a pro.
- Volunteer experience refers to any type of work or activity that has been carried out without any monetary compensation or any form of payment in exchange.
- The key elements in listing your volunteer work experiences in your resume include the name of the organization, the dates when you did volunteer work, tasks, responsibilities, and accomplishments.
- Remember to use a consistent format in citing both your professional and volunteer experiences, cite volunteer work relevant to the job position, and include keywords from the job advertisement in your resume.
Should You Include Volunteer Experience in Your Resume?
Volunteer experience involves any work you have done without receiving any form of payment in return. Some volunteer experience examples are animal rescue and care, sporting events, community development, and working with the youth.
At first glance, including volunteer experience may not seem to have that much of an impact on your professional track record. In reality, volunteering is an excellent way to develop people skills and technical aptitude that may be relevant to your chosen career.
This is particularly true if you plan to pursue a job in healthcare, management, or sales. If you are a fresh graduate or if you have an employment gap, including a section in your resume detailing how you volunteered in your community is a great way to demonstrate your skills, core values, and proactiveness.
Employers often associate charity work and community involvement with dependability, initiative, and exhibiting a willingness to work in a team setting.
Conversely, if you already have a considerable level of expertise in your field, it may not be necessary for you to list any volunteer experience in your credentials. Your work experience should be enough to vouch for your aptness for the job.
Another key factor worth noting is the relevance of your volunteer work to the position you are applying for. Does it highlight skills that would prove useful to the job? Also, when was the last time you participated in any volunteer work?
Unless you are applying to work for an NGO, it is best to include volunteering experience that you took part in recently because it underscores the relevance of your charitable work to the position.
How to Include Volunteer Experience in Your Resume
The key to including a volunteer experience section in your resume is to create a separate section for your volunteer work if you want to elaborate on each experience you have had.
You can achieve that by including the following key components:
Provide the name of the organization or company where you did volunteer work. In this manner, the recruiter can cross-check and assess whether you have listed a legitimate organization or not.
Create individual sections for each organization if you have volunteered for more than one institution or group. This is to avoid confusion and allow you to expand on each of your experiences concisely.
Dates When Your Volunteer Work Took Place
Include the dates or timeframe when you volunteered for the organization. As much as possible, cite recent volunteering experiences, as it will be easier to recall the details of your work and explain the relevance of your experience to the job.
If you have engaged in multiple charitable works in recent years, list your experiences in reverse-chronological order. Your most recent volunteer work should be at the top, followed by the events and activities that you took part in prior.
Tasks & Responsibilities
Describe all the roles and tasks you have fulfilled while volunteering in this section. Be direct and concise when describing each of your responsibilities to make it easier for the recruiter or interviewer to understand.
If you are a fresh graduate, this is the most suitable section in your resume where you can focus on leadership roles you have taken on in your school’s organizations. You can also share details on any internship programs related to your desired job position.
Take things up a notch by listing all your accomplishments within the charity or organization. The act of volunteering is rewarding in itself, but adding what you have accomplished through charitable activities is a way to stand out from other applicants.
Remember, recruiters receive hundreds of applications regularly. Adding a measurable result to your volunteering experiences instantly sets your professional profile apart for all the right reasons.
Volunteer Experience on Resume: Examples
Below are examples of how to include volunteer experience in your resume based on your career and seniority level at work:
#1. College Student Volunteer Experience
|St. Mark’s Academy
Soccer Coach to fourth and fifth graders
May 2022 – August 2022
Helping Hand Shelter
February 2022 – September 2022
The example above exhibits active participation in programs that help the community.
Since a college student’s resume lacks professional credentials, showcasing volunteering activities where they took on significant roles that led to positive changes in their society is definitely a plus for potential employers.
#2. Volunteer Experience for a Journalist
|Non-profit Organization for the Deaf Community
Public Relations Committee
January 2021 – March 2022
A journalist’s job is to write and broadcast news and consistently communicate with a variety of organizations, local authorities, and groups to stay updated with any current events in the locale or city.
Additional experience volunteering within a public relations committee shows passion for their career as a reporter and a desire to be closer to the community—a trait that is important if your job entails constantly socializing and working with people.
#3. Volunteer Experience for Teachers
|XY Learning Center
Volunteer Academic Tutor
March 2022 – Present
Having significant experience in assisting and helping kids learn is highly relevant if you are pursuing a career as a full-time teacher. Volunteering gives a preview of what it is like to work and engage with fellow teachers and, more importantly, bright young minds.
If you have experience teaching the youth in other subject areas and vocational skills, it shows your versatility and background in a variety of scholastic development programs.
#4. Entry Level Volunteer Experience
|Domestic Pet Rescuers
September 2019 – Present
Volunteering at an animal shelter can be both rewarding and challenging.
It is also an excellent way to develop skills essential to creating and maintaining a peaceful and productive work environment, such as record-keeping, maintaining self-control during stressful situations, open-mindedness, and interpersonal communication skills.
#5. Executive-Level Volunteer Experience
|Run for Charity, NYC
November 6, 2022
Board of Directors
April 2021 – June 2022
The two types of volunteer work described in the example above indicate a proactive involvement in the community and a series of skills that a dependable leader should possess.
Fulfilling an executive-level position in the workplace requires active involvement in the community and the capacity for effective and objective decision-making.
3 Tips on How to Add Volunteer Experience to Your Resume
Here are additional tips on how to add volunteer experience to your resume so you can stand out among other applicants:
The format of your volunteer section should match all the other sections in your resume. Consistency is essential, as it conveys professionalism and attention to detail.
Focus on citing relevant volunteer experience, meaning the advocacies you have taken part in must have helped develop skills essential to the job or career you want to pursue.
Check whether the company you are applying for has specified the need to cite volunteering or community work as part of the job’s qualifications. Better yet, research any nonprofit or charity activities that the company may have participated in in the past.
Job Ad Keywords
Some recruiters use resume screening software that filters applications based on the job ad keywords included in a company’s job advertisement.
By inserting these keywords in your resume, either in the description of your work experiences or volunteering work, you increase the chances that your resume will pass through to the next step of the hiring process.
Volunteer work essentially means stepping outside of your comfort zone and applying and developing your skills and abilities for the greater good.
Whether you have worked with charity organizations, animal rescue shelters, local hospitals, or learning centers, volunteering indicates which causes you are most passionate about.
Keep in mind all the helpful tips in this article on how to include volunteer experience in your resume to leave a lasting impression on your potential future employers!