The Value Of Volunteer Experience On A Cv
Volunteer experiences abound in every field of endeavour from presenting a programme on hospital radio, to managing the social media accounts for a charity, performing community service, conducting successful fundraising events, or conducting church volunteer work, there really is something for everyone! Thus, you can easily find work that fits you both personally and professionally.
The benefits of putting volunteer experience on your CV are numerous. It can reassure prospective hiring managers and employers that you’re the right cultural fit for the job and company, for example. Also, if you have a considerable gap on your resume from your last role, volunteer work is a perfectly beneficial buffer to fill the interim any prospective employers are likely to be suitably impressed that you utilised the period between jobs to gain additional key skills and organise your time effectively both of which are invaluable in a work environment where a talent for time management and dedicated drive are vital for success in any endeavour.
Additionally, in today’s competitive arena, companies want to know that your motivation extends far beyond the perks of a paycheque. Passion is infectious, and by learning how to include volunteer resume experience, you can help to demonstrate that the passion you profess is fully authentic, rather than simply a means to an end.
Create A Brief Line At The End Of The Resume
You can add a brief line at the end of your resume if your volunteer experiences are unrelated to your professional expertise and the industry you’re applying for, but you feel that they may provide your employer with a more positive context and set you apart from other candidates. They may show more about your character or reveal the reasons why you chose a particular career.
When making a separate section for your volunteer experiences, follow these do’s and don’ts:
Add volunteer work that is somehow connected to the needed skills of the job you’re applying for, even if the connection is not immediately obvious.
Try to be succinct because the end of a resume can be overlooked.
Don’t add a volunteer work section if you don’t feel it can improve your chances.
Here’s an example of a separate volunteering section:
Volunteer work:Little Angels Daycare, Volunteer care worker, January 2015-November 2015, February 2020-Present
When To Include Volunteering In Your Resume Experience
If you are stuck wondering how to list volunteer experience on resume, the first step could be to ask yourself when to include the experience on your resume. You need to use your volunteer experience to highlight the skills that you picked up while at it.
These could be fundraising skills, or teaching skills, event planning skills, and problem-solving skills.
Now the best time to include volunteer skills is when you have not got much work experience. As a fresher, right out of college, you probably should consider how to put volunteer work on resume.
Also, if you have taken time out of work to raise children or are getting back to work after a long spell of unemployment, you should definitely research how do you list volunteer work on a resume.
Putting volunteer work on your resume does not always have to emphasize a human touch. It can work wonders for you when highlighting the different skills that you picked up. There are two kinds of volunteer work. One is when the work is related to your career, and another is when the work is not related to your job.
For example, teaching teenagers their first coding language is career-related volunteer work. But working for free at a dog centre is not related to your career. But both can be useful to highlight skills learnt from the experience.
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How To List Volunteer Experience If Youre A Student Or A Fresh Graduate
Treat it like your work experience. Most recruiters see volunteer experience similarly to paid work experience. In other words, just because you didnt get paid, it doesnt mean you didnt do a good job.
Go ahead and list your volunteer roles as you would full-time paid jobs. Detail the time you volunteered, relevant tasks you undertook and the skills you gained through the experience.
Volunteer jobs belong in your resume. They indicate that building healthy relationships with your community and environment is your priority.
Whether its service to the poor in your neighborhood or humanitarian work for an NGO, these activities show youve developed a much broader vision of your life and work.
But be specific rather than vague. Dont only list your responsibilities, but also mention your accomplishments. Instead of writing Volunteered for a university magazine, write Wrote 28 articles for a university magazine. See the difference?
How To Write A Volunteer Resume
Including volunteer work on your resume can help employers learn about your interests and experienceespecially if you have limited professional experience.
You can include volunteer experience in your professional experience section, skill section or in a separate volunteer section.
Include keywords from the job description that connects your volunteer experience back to the role.
The goal of writing a resume is to quickly show employers you are a great fit for the job. Adding information like your skills, professional experience and education can help convey why the employer should advance you in the hiring process. Another section you might consider adding is volunteer work. Listing volunteer work on your resume can help employers understand your interests, skills and support resumes with little to no professional experience.
c. Description of role and achievement
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How To Include Volunteer Experience In Your Resume
Now that we went over the whens, lets go over the most important part – how to include volunteer experience in your resume in a way that highlights your skills and emphasizes your achievements.
As we mentioned before, volunteer experience can be a section of its own or can count as work experience in some specific cases.
DO include it as part of the work experience section if:
- The experience is super relevant to the job you are applying for.
- You have otherwise little paid experience.
For example, lets say youre applying for a job in Journalism, but youve never worked as a professional in the field. However, you have plenty of journalism experience from years of volunteering at your universitys newspaper.
Heres what this would look like in your resume:
Reading Owl Daily
2017 – 2019
- Volunteering experience as Reporter for the Universitys daily newspaper. Covered the News section, as well as handled copy editing.
- Kept track of the newspapers online presence and updated its WordPress site daily.
- Wrote a total of 50 interviews for two years.
Now, when your volunteering experience isnt specifically related to the job youre applying for, youre better off creating a separate volunteer experience section and formatting it just like the work experience section:
- Volunteering Position
- Responsibilities & Achievements
Confused? Let us cover an example:
Heres how you could do that:
When To Include Volunteer Work On Your Resume
You should include volunteer work on your resume when:
It directly ties to the paid position youre pursuing. It all comes down to relevance, so if theres a connection between your volunteer job and your next professional opportunity, make it obvious in your application.
You dont have much paid work experience yet. Even though you didnt get a paycheck, your achievements in the role count just as much.
You have a gap in your resume. Potential employers will like seeing that you stayed busy, continued to learn new skills, and spent your time away from the office helping others.
You want to get hired at a non-profit. The hiring manager at a charitable organization will like seeing you have a heart for service.
Your target organization prides itself on giving back to the community. Your volunteer work will signal that youre a good fit for the companys culture.
On the other hand, you probably want to leave volunteer work off of your resume when:
You completed your service years ago. Since then, youve learned and achieved other things, so you should focus on your recent experience.
Listing it would mean omitting other, more impactful information, like current paid experience, education, professional certifications, industry awards, etc. You only have so much space and time to impress the hiring manager, so choose what you include wisely.
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Where Should You Put Your Volunteer Experience On A Resume
Are you a student or fresh graduate? who lacks work experience, you should treat your volunteer experience as regular work experience. Feel free to include it all under work experience section.
Are you an experienced professional?Then you should create a separate section dedicated exclusively to your volunteer work. BUT! If you had a volunteer job thats highly relevant to the job youre applying fo, feel free to mention it as one of the jobs in your work experience section.
Create A Separate Section After Listing Your Professional Experiences
If you have enough previous work experience but would also like to showcase relevant volunteer work, it’s best to create a separate section right after your work experiences. This makes it easy to connect your professional experience with your volunteer work.
You can use these do’s and don’ts to guide you if you create a comprehensive volunteer experience section:
List your main achievements in volunteer work in the same way you list your professional experiences.
Use as many action verbs and metrics as possible.
Don’t add volunteer work to a resume that shows enough work experience unless you are certain it will help the potential employer get a better understanding of your background.
Here’s an example of what a comprehensive volunteer experience section could look like:
Related Volunteer Experience
Happy Souls Dog Pound, San Francisco, CaliforniaAugust 2019-Present
Holding a position as a volunteer software engineer for the San Francisco division of Happy Souls Dog Pound. Handling software implementation, website creation and programming duties for their website and adoption center.
Developed both back-end and front-end for their adoption matchmaking website.
Used SEO to increase traffic, boosting adoptions by 27% compared to 2018.
Added online ads to increase funding.
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Why Should You List Volunteer Experience On Your Resume
Its as valuable as paid work. About 41 % of hiring managers consider volunteer work as valuable as paid work when evaluating candidates, . About 20 % of hiring managers in the U.S. hired a candidate based on their volunteer experience.
It speaks volumes about your character. In addition to skills particular to every position, volunteer experience always shows an employer that youre 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.
Where To Put Volunteer Work On Your Resume
Your volunteer experience should go in your experience section or a dedicated volunteer-work section. How you format this experience depends on how relevant it is to the job youre applying for.
But keep in mind that you shouldnt list your volunteer experience in your hobbies and interests section, because youd be grouping related work experience with unrelated activities.
1. Experience section
List your volunteer experience in your experience section if its highly relevant to the job youre applying for.
Volunteer experience is similar to work experience because both require you to apply for the position and then have someone train you and evaluate your performance. Even the meeting new people and building skills part are functionally the same, which makes volunteering a great opportunity to prepare for paid work.
You can make your volunteer experience stand out on a resume by using action verbs to start off each bullet point and including hard numbers to quantify your notable achievements.
Action verbs help to deliver the desired impact to your physical actions while quantifying your achievements using numbers conveys to the hiring managers how much workload you can handle. Using numbers also emphasizes how youve positively influenced the organization, and thus shows how much youd be able to contribute to their respective organizations.
Here are some examples of effective volunteer experience bullet points:
Dedicated volunteer-work section
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Where To List Volunteer Work On Your Resume
If a volunteer position is related to your industry and relevant to your job search, then you can certainly mix it right into your Employment History section. Whether or not you are paid for a position is not the impressive part. The substance of the position and what it entails is what remains important, whether it is a paid or volunteer position. So if you are in Business Managementor Finance, you might add a volunteer section on resume that looks something like the one below. What are examples of volunteering?
Tip #: List Achievements Over Responsibilities
When possible, you want to focus more on achievements as opposed to responsibilities in your resume .
Heres what we mean by that:
Lets assume that you have volunteer experience as a research assistant. The responsibilities are pretty obvious – i.e. compiling and distributing questionnaires, collecting and analyzing relevant data, doing statistical and analytical work, etc.
The HR knows all this – theyre reviewed hundreds of similar resumes, all of which mention the same responsibilities.
If you, however, focus on showing how you concretely contributed to the research, by say, pointing out that 50% of the data analyzed by you was used to advance it, youd have told the recruiter something completely new and compelling that makes you stand out.
Focusing on your achievements, when relevant, is your best chance at giving your resume the upper hand.
To give you a more concrete example, though, heres a comparison of achievements done right:
- Compiled and distributed qualitative questionnaires with a 90% response rate.
- Completed 50% of the data analysis later used to advance the projects research.
However, in some industries, you might have fewer achievements to list than in others. If you volunteered at your local homeless shelter, your day-to-day goal probably wasnt to distinguish yourself but help others. If thats the case, listing responsibilities is OK.
Heres how that would look like in your resume:
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How To Include Volunteer Experience On Resume
Try to be as detailed as you possibly can while you are describing your volunteer work on resume.
Instead of saying
Volunteered at the Care Shelter Home for Boys as an English Teacher
Write something along the lines of
Taught Communicative English to 10 children-at-risk and improved their monthly BAT scores by 16%
Following qualities are usually displayed in a volunteer experience on resume. And the best part is: The hiring managers love it!
- Team Management & Leadership
The volunteer resume checklist is here!
Adding volunteer experience on resume makes it stand out like the Sword of Durendal.Just follow these important tips:
- If it is relevant, add volunteer work to your professional experience section.
- If it is notrelevant, or you have an extensive professional experience, include volunteer experiences on resume in a section.
- If you are making a separate section, make sure it’s below your Professional Experience section
- Detail your volunteer experiences on resume instead of mentioning generic pointers. Include figures and quantifiable impact wherever possible
- Even if it’s been a while since you last volunteered, include that in your volunteer resume
- Prefer bullet points over a paragraph for your volunteer resume
If You Have Extensive Paid Experience
Paid work experience will always have more weight than volunteer work. If you already have plenty of recent work experience thats relevant to the position youre applying for, theres no need to add volunteer experience on top of that. You want the hiring manager to focus on the strongest parts of your resume, which sometimes means leaving off other things that arent as impressive.
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If You Dont Have Enough Relevant Paid Experience
Volunteer work can be a great way to break into a new field, especially as a career changer. It shows that youre serious about making the move and can give you relevant experience to talk about in a cover letter or interview. If your volunteer experience is more relevant to the new industry than your professional experience, youll want to include it in the main body of your resume, with your most recent experience on top.
What Counts As Volunteer Work On A Resume
Pretty much any type of volunteering that you have done, be it for school or for some other organization, counts as volunteer work on your resume.
But should you put volunteer work on your resume if it is not relevant to the position you are applying for? Absolutely!
The purpose of including volunteer work on your resume, be it relevant or not, is to show your potential employer that you are a reliable person who can carry out preestablished duties within a work environment. So you can include anything that fits this category.
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If Your Volunteering Relates To The Job You Are Applying For
When you have not got much paid work experience, or your paid work experience is less relevant to the role you are applying to, the most effective way of showcasing your volunteering work is by thinking of these placements as equivalent to paid work.
If your CV is chronological, include voluntary or work experience places in the correct chronological order with your other work, but make sure you flag up that it was voluntary. If it was a fixed length placement, e.g, a two week internship, make sure this is made clear too. Dont forget, if you do an insight day or a work shadowing scheme you can include that too!
You can also include work experience in a separate heading, but this is more appropriate when you have a lot of relevant paid work experience on your CV already.
What information should I include?