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How to Include Volunteer Experience on a Resume

WHY should you list volunteer experience on a resume?

Our professional identities are no longer only about what you do from 9-5. According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn, 41% of respondents consider volunteer work as valuable as paid work when evaluating candidates. About 20% of hiring managers in the U.S. also stated they've hired a candidate based on their work experience.

No wonder. In addition to skills particular to every position, volunteer experience always shows an employer that you’re willing to get involved in your community, take initiative, and make things happen. Volunteering shows qualities that are highly sought after in every industry. It would be a terrible mistake to pass on such opportunity.

WHEN should you include volunteer work on a resume?

Short answer? Always. However, you should take a special care to emphasise your volunteer experience on a resume if you’re:

  • A fresh graduate. As an entry-level candidate, you probably don’t have much paid work experience to speak of. Consider making volunteer work central to your resume.
  • Changing careers. There’s no better way to get a job in a new industry than showing that, in fact, you’ve been a part of it for years.
  • Returning to workforce. Maybe you were forced to spend some time outside of the workforce. In such case, listing your volunteer experience on a resume is a great way to show that you’ve spent this time actively developing new skills.

HOW should you list volunteer experience on a resume?

How do you organise your volunteer experience on a resume will depend heavily on how they’re related to your career target.

  • List related volunteer experience under the employment history section just like any other job.
  • Create a separate section for your unrelated volunteer experience. Highlight any transferrable skills you’ve acquired as they pertain to your target position. In spite of being seemingly unrelated, any volunteering experience shows an employer that you’re self-motivated and willing to go beyond what’s merely required of you.

RESUME EXAMPLE: Volunteering Experience (Recent graduate)

WORK EXPERIENCE

Marketing Intern, Amazing Studio, Niagara Falls, NY, Summer 2015 - Conceptualised marketing plans for technological and real estate markets, which increased company revenue by 12% in 6 months. - Developed 6 web advertising campaigns. Substitute Teacher, Teach for America, Somers Point, NJ, 2013 to 2015 - Planned and executed lessons based on curriculum requirements. - Provided for materials for classroom instruction. - Proved competence in teaching, leadership, and mentoring.

VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE

Volunteer Scout Leader, Boy Scouts of America, Lambertville, PA, Summer 2009 to 2013 - Coordinated, mentored, and trained several scout troops. - Led weekly meetings and organised yearly summer camps - Secured parent involvement and participation in activities.

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