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Should You Put Volunteer Experience on Resume?

Posted on July 1, 2016 by Justin Maynard

volunteer experience on resume

Either you’re a student, who has never held a full-time position in a company or a professional, going through the period of unemployment, volunteer work offers you a chance to pay back to community and obtain a valuable experience. Despite all the benefits, few people actually believe it’s worth pointing out in a resume. Should you be one of them?

Volunteer work often is a great opportunity to enhance both your soft and technical skills. It may be a solid proof of your qualifications and a powerful illustration of the experience you got during the charity projects. What is more, a recent LinkedIn survey shows, 41% of hiring managers consider volunteer work to be as important as a paid job. That’s why pointing it out when applying for a position in a company is quite advantageous. What is important, though, is how to do it right.

Choosing the Mode

There’s plenty of opportunities to choose from, when you consider the chance to do volunteer work. The main factors here are your personal preferences and the skills you’re willing to apply in this or that case. Basing on this, you may generally choose one of two ways: participate in a number of organizations, performing minor tasks, or devote all your energy to the one you believe to be the most suitable. If you’ve decided to go the first track, the best strategy is to list all the charities you’ve worked with. In case you want to get a comprehensive experience from cooperation with one charity, you’ve got to stick to a different approach.

Concentration on the Facts

You may have organized events, coordinated a group of volunteers or had the whole project to yourself. Then, mere outlining all the places you’ve worked in is definitely not enough. Let your potential employer know where specifically your activities were concentrated. Provide the details on goals you’ve achieved and the actions you’ve taken to do so. If you’ve taken part in arranging a fund-raising event, don’t hesitate to demonstrate your personal contribution. You were contacting potential participants? Negotiated the prices of catering services? Was responsible for accounting? Tell people about it. They may actually want you to perform these functions in their organization.

Telling the Right Story to the Right People

Hiring managers don’t seek description of all the things you’ve done in your life. They want the proofs of your being the most suitable candidate for the opening. A pro tip here is to study the core values of the company you want to work for and make sure the information you give in your resume resonates with them.

All volunteer organizations have different directions. You may have worked with the one, concentrated on politics, religion or the rights of representatives of different sexual orientation groups. In this case you’ve got two ways to choose from: either make sure to give this information only to the companies that share your beliefs or expose it to everybody. In the first case, you’ll do everything to secure getting the job you want. In the second one you’ll put your potential bosses to the test of compatibility with your personality.

Giving Your Best Shot and Staying Modest

In case your volunteer work has helped you develop essential skills – don’t hesitate to show it in your resume. Nevertheless, it might not be a good idea to talk about it during an interview. Prepare a story that will highlight your strengths and mention the positive impact of participation in charity organizations. A hiring manager will definitely ask questions, if they’re genuinely interested in the experience you’ve gained there and appreciate this kind of effort.

A resume is basically the best version of yourself, you present to your employer. If volunteer work has helped you shape your personality, you should mention it by all means. If pointed out in the right way, it may play crucial role in your getting the job. Give people the evidence of your productivity, not the sob stories. They will truly appreciate it.

Doing good deeds makes the world better. Why not include them in your resume, if they can get you the job of your dreams? All in all, you’re the decision-maker. Keep making the world a better place and good luck with the job search!

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