It takes more than simply writing to make a captivating volunteer experience section. Here are some pointers on how to properly include volunteer work in your resume:
Keep It Relevant
Only include recent and relevant volunteer experience in your resume.
For example, if you volunteered five years ago and have subsequently worked in a variety of professional roles in your area, you don’t need to go back and cite that volunteer experience (even if it was an amazing learning experience).
Your volunteer experience is neither recent (it occurred 5 years ago) nor applicable in this case, you probably learned a lot more from your recent positions.
First and foremost, stick to the format
There is a fairly simple protocol to follow when listing volunteer activities.
This is how it appears:
- Your job title and/or position
- Name of the company/organization
- Timeframe for volunteering
Prioritize your accomplishments over your responsibilities
When possible, you should emphasize accomplishments rather than responsibilities in your resume and this applies to volunteer experience, too.
Here’s an example of what we mean:
Let’s pretend you’ve worked as a research assistant as a volunteer. Compiling and disseminating surveys, collecting and evaluating pertinent data, performing statistical and analytical work, and so on are all tasks.
Hiring Manager is aware of this because they’ve seen hundreds of similar applications with the same responsibilities.
If, on the other hand, you concentrate on demonstrating how you directly contributed to the research, such as by stating that 50% of the data you evaluated was used to advance it, you’ll have told the recruiter something truly unique and intriguing that will make you stand out.
When it comes to your resume, focusing on your accomplishments is the greatest way to give it an edge.
To offer you a more specific example, here’s a comparison of successful accomplishments:
- Developed and distributed qualitative questionnaires that received a 90% response rate.
- Completed half of the data analysis, which was later used to further the project’s study.
However, you may have fewer accomplishments to highlight in some industries than in others. If you volunteered at a homeless shelter, your daily goal was generally to help others rather than to stand out. It’s ok to mention responsibilities if that’s the case.
This is how it would appear on your resume:
- Unpacking and dispersing food assistance.
- Taking homeless persons into the shelter and registering them.
- Oversee the shelter’s opening and closing twice a week.
The most important takeaways
And that’s all there is to it! By now, you should have a good understanding of how to add volunteer work to a resume.
Let’s go over everything we’ve talked about thus far:
- Include volunteer work as a distinct section or as work-related experience (if your volunteer work is relevant to the position you’re looking for).
- When listing your volunteer experiences, emphasize accomplishments over obligations wherever possible. Responsibilities are what put you on the same level as everyone else; your accomplishments are what set you apart!
- Volunteer experience can be extremely beneficial to your job application, especially if you are a recent graduate, have a gap in your resume, or are applying to a non-profit organization.