Volunteer work is a wonderful chance to show potential employers key skills like fundraising, problem solving, event planning, and teamwork. However, many people often wonder if you need a section on your resume for volunteer experience and how to include volunteer work in your resume.
Why Is Volunteer Experience Important On A Resume?
Most companies are not interested in just what you do during the work day. According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn, 41% of people who have responded feel that volunteer work is just as valuable as paid work.
Only about 20% of hiring managers hire people based on their work experience alone. In the eyes of an employer, volunteering shows qualities that is highly desired across all industries, such as:
- Service Mindset
- People Skills
- Physical Fitness
- Customer Relations
If volunteer work on a resume is a good thing to have, then it’s important to learn how to include volunteer work in your resume.
Who Benefits The Most From Showing Volunteer Work On A Resume?
Everyone can benefit from putting some kind of volunteer work on their resumes, but it is especially important for those who:
Chances are, if you’re a new graduate looking to get an entry level job, you probably do not have much experience in terms of paid work. Volunteer work can be your primary focus.
One way to switch careers and go into a new industry is by showing employers that you have been involved with the industry for years, via volunteering.
Are Re-Entering The Work Force
It doesn’t matter why you have been out of the work force, if you’ve volunteered during this time, it shows employers that you’ve spent that time learning new and useful skills.
How To Put Volunteer Work On A Resume
Volunteer experience is great to have, we get it. But, how do you incorporate it into your resume? It all depends on how the volunteer work relates to your career goals. If it is directly related to your career goals, you can list it with your employment history section and treat it like another job.
Software Engineer Experience
Meals on Wheels, New Jersey Chapter
- Held volunteer position as software engineer for Meals on Wheels
- Organized programming duties such as web design and record keeping
- Developed blog and front-end WordPress site – over 250 pages
- Customized web app to track over 1,000 delivery requests and 60 temp drivers
- Managed and organized online ads to announce events and fundraisers
- Worked with 50+ team members to create effective solutions
While this particular experience wasn’t paid, it is still valuable experience that will impress future employers!
What if your volunteer work doesn’t relate to the position you are applying for? Let’s say you are still applying for a software engineer position. You can create a section under the work experience section and call it “Volunteer Experience.”
- Volunteer on holidays at Church preparing meals for homeless
- Volunteer at Goodwill twice a month as donation intake assistant
- Volunteer at long-term care facility once a month as activity assistant
Though none of the skills you’ve acquired for these volunteer jobs have direct relation to the job you’re applying for, it does show that you have valuable qualities like competence, service mindset, and you are able to work as a team.
Best Organizations To Volunteer For
Don’t have any volunteer experience to put on your resume? Don’t worry – it’s never too late to start! Question is, what are the best organizations where you can volunteer your time and gain valuable skills? There are plenty of organizations that are always looking for help. Here are some of the most notable organizations:
American Red Cross
Long list of volunteer opportunities with this organizations, whether you help during blood drives, perform clerical tasks, manage other volunteers, or assist others.
Volunteering at retirement homes is a great way to hone your people skills while listening and bonding with some pretty amazing people in the process. You could teach the residents how to use a computer, help workers during meal times, and other activities.
The campaign trail, be it for local government or on a federal scale, is always seeking eager volunteers who can man the phones, distribute fliers, raise money, and answer emails. This type of work can provide you with skills that are beneficial for a wide variety of industries – it is especially helpful if you are trying to establish a political career.
The Peace Corps does require three months of training, but when you volunteer your time, there’s no limit to the amount of experience and education you can receive. Your tasks can range from teaching children the English language in foreign countries to disaster cleanup.
Volunteering at a local library a few times a week is a great opportunity for the bookworm. You may spend your time organizing the books, helping patrons find books, and you may even be involved with events being ran by the library.
Habitat For Humanity
If ever there was an organization that focused on giving back to the community, it would be Habitat for Humanity. It’s a great chance to learn how to build or repair homes while teaching you how to work as a team.
People will tell you that volunteer work has no place on a resume, but in reality, employers are interested! When you have volunteer experience, especially if it is related to the position you are trying to land, it can definitely work to your benefit! If you don’t have any volunteer experience, you needn’t worry because there are organizations (both on a national level, but also within your community) that would be happy to have you volunteer your time!