You may have specific reasons or motivations for volunteering. A hiring manager appreciates candidates who have volunteer work aptly placed on a resume. A recent study found that volunteers have a higher likelihood of finding a job after being out of work than people who haven't made the effort to volunteer.
Volunteering and donating your time is a clear display of your intention to get involved and give back to your community. It also shows that you have initiative and enjoy trying new things. From that alone, employers can infer that you're the type of employee who is willing to help out and contribute to the greater good on behalf of their organization.
You might be wondering how do you leverage these sellable traits on your resume? The best way to format your volunteer work depends on your career level and where you are planning to go in your near future.
Follow these tips to get your foot in the door:
Volunteering for New Graduates
Entry-level candidates with minimal work experience should highlight their volunteer work even if it becomes the main focus of the resume. Make an effort to showcase how you learned to utilize your communication, leadership and planning skills. Don’t forget to mention how these experiences motivated you to become more adaptable to ever changing work environments.
You can incorporate volunteering in the work experience section if you have little to no paid work history. Treat the experience as if it were a paid job, but make sure to indicate your volunteering status in the description or next to your title.
List the following:
- Organization's name
- Functional title
- Date range
Volunteering for Career Change & Reentering the Workforce
Volunteering is an ideal way to develop and showcase new in demand skill sets. Employers will be interested in the fact that you made the distinct effort to acquire new skills. It's a great way to set yourself up for a career change.
Again, remember to list this work as volunteering and not paid employment. Your experience won't be minimized, and you'll be showing employers that you're not embellishing your actual work history.
Volunteering for Those On A Steady Career Track
If you have an established career path, you don't need to include your volunteer work. Your professional work experience will take center stage on your resume.
Don't Risk Including Too Much Information
If you've volunteered with organizations that reveal information you wouldn't want a prospective employer to know, consider leaving them off of your resume. For example, if you've volunteered with religious or political groups, consider listing the skills you acquired rather than highlighting the affiliation with those organizations.
Target the Employer's Philanthropic Leanings
Dedicate some time researching prospective employers to discover how much emphasis they place on community and philanthropy. Modify the volunteer section to reflect the stance of the companies that interest you.
If you find out that a company that you're applying to champions a specific cause or organization, be sure to mention any similar companies that you've volunteered with. This demonstrates that you're familiar with the issues and could be a solid cultural fit within the company.