When job seekers create their resumes, many discount the value of volunteering experience. However, if you learned valuable hard or soft skills along the way, these positions can help you land a job.
Plus, recent college graduates, those looking to rejoin the workforce after a period away, or someone looking to shift into a new field, can use their volunteering experience to bolster their resume or cover gaps in their traditional employment history.
If you are volunteering this summer, here’s how you should add that experience to your resume.
Choose the Right Location
Most resumes feature several sections, and you have a few options when it comes to listing volunteer experience. If your time volunteering provided you with relevant skills and experience, list it alongside your traditional employment entries. Just make sure the section heading is appropriate and doesn’t imply that your volunteer position was paid employment. For example, the generic “Experience” heading can do the trick. If you want to use “Work” or “Professional” in the heading, then make sure your job title for the role says “Volunteer” somewhere in it.
Alternatively, you can also list your volunteer work under a separate “Volunteer Experience” heading. This may be more appropriate if the role isn’t as relevant to your target job.
Space on your resume is valuable, so you want to be concise when discussing volunteer roles. Only highlight relevant skills and achievements to provide the hiring managers with the most useful details. If the position relates to your target job, this may mean having a few bullet points. If not, a short one- or two-line synopsis may be a better approach.
However, it’s wise to remember soft skills are worth noting, especially if they apply to your target position. Leadership, communication, problem-solving, and similar skills are helpful in nearly any job, so don’t forget to mention them.
There Are Exceptions
In many cases, listing your volunteer experience on your resume is beneficial. However, there are a few exceptions that may make leaving the position off your application a smart choice.
For example, if the nature of the organization provides the hiring manager with information about your personal life, you may want to exclude the experience from your resume. For example, work with the PTA can indicate you have children. Assisting a religious or political organization hints at your beliefs in those areas.
While discriminating against an applicant based on a protected status is illegal, that doesn’t mean bias doesn’t exist, even if it is only unconscious. If you want to eliminate this possibility, leaving your volunteer experience off your resume may be a smart move.
By following the tips above, you can boost your resume by adding your volunteer experience. If you are interested in learning more or are seeking new employment opportunities, the professionals at TempStaff can help. Contact us to discuss your career goals with one of our skilled team members today and see how our services can benefit you.