Upgrade Your Resume with Volunteer Experience

January 8, 2020

Whether you’re entering the workforce for the first time, looking for a new position, or getting back into the swing of things after some time off, you’re probably wondering how to make your resume stand out from the crowd. Believe it or not, there’s a straightforward answer: add some volunteer experience!

What Volunteering Does for Your Resume

Volunteering is good for you, for your community, and the world–and, of course, it looks impressive on your resume.

Let’s say that, for example, you volunteer to build beds for kids in need. A potential employer would look at this experience and think a few important things:

  • you’re reliable, hard-working, and capable
  • you can work with a team
  • you have respectable, charitable values
  • you aren’t self-centered
  • you have experience in the real world
  • you actively seek opportunities to sharpen your skills

These are all things that highlight your work ethic, morals, and reliability, and the best part is that they’re all true. Volunteering helps you look like the excellent worker you already are.

How to Add Volunteer Work on Your Resume

Now that you know how important volunteering can be for your resume (and your community) let’s find out how to make all that hard work look good.

What volunteer work should I include on my resume?

Remember, not all volunteer work is created equal, at least in the eyes of resume-readers. Of course, any volunteer work you do is putting good out into the world, so it’s always worth your time. However, it’s important to be thoughtful about which experiences you include.

Do include:

  • long-term positions
  • leadership positions
  • any work related to the job you’re applying for or the career you’re pursuing
  • work with any organization that shared the values or mission of the company you’re applying for

Don’t include:

  • short-term or one-time positions
  • work for controversial organizations
  • and “supporting roles” (as opposed to leadership positions), unless you can show its significance

How should I format my resume with volunteer experience?

Where exactly you add volunteer work to a new or existing resume will depend on what style you’re going for. Sometimes volunteer positions can go right alongside paid positions (generally in chronological order), and sometimes it’s separated under a “Related Experience” or “Community Work” header. The details are up to you! It’s easy to find lots of examples online. Just find one you like, or a template that includes an area for this experience, and make it your own. 

Are you looking for volunteer experiences to put on your resume? Get in touch with your local chapter today to start helping kids in need by building and delivering beds!