Volunteer Work on a Resume: Your Job Search Success Strategy

Volunteer Work on a Resume: Your Job Search Success Strategy

Today a wonderful new client asked me an important question: Can she use her experience in volunteer work on a resume? Will hiring managers like what she has done, or will they consider it fluff? The answer is twofold.

Volunteer Work on a Resume

Including volunteer work on a professional resume can be a critical way of ensuring that a hiring manager understands the full flavor of your experience. For example, your professional career might be a greased rail to success, but it might lack a specific dimension that you need to promote. By highlighting your volunteer experience, you can show that you have many types of expertise, not just the kind that you get paid for day to day.

TEDxCanberra Volunteer Meeting
Creative Commons License photo credit: Gavin Tapp

Examples of this type of volunteer work from which your resume can benefit can include:

  • Volunteering at a church or synagogue.
  • Leadership roles with your child’s PTA.
  • Organizing a food drive.
  • Serving as a Boy Scout or Girl Scout guide.
  • Tutoring a struggling student.
  • Sitting on the board of a non-profit institution.
  • Participating or organizing a fun run for charity.
  • Coaching a sports team.

There are, of course, many other types of volunteerism that can bolster your job application process. The critical thing to remember is that you must couch your leadership contributions and your accomplishments in the same way that you account for them with your regular paid positions. Work is work, even if it’s unpaid.

Volunteer Work as the Basis for Your References

Don’t forget, in addition, that your volunteer roles can serve as a source of references for you if you haven’t had a paid role in some time. If you had any type of reporting relationship with leaders of a volunteer organization, it’s a good idea to ask them to write you a letter of recommendation on the organization’s letterhead commenting on your contributions. These people can also become excellent sources of references when you need to give names and numbers to interviewers of people who can vouch for your excellent work ethic, ability to organize projects and teams, and so on.

Examples of the types of individuals who might serve as excellent references from your volunteer work include:

  • Event leaders, when you directed a portion of the event.
  • Co-organizers, who can comment on your excellent team spirit and ability to motivate the group.
  • A beneficiary of a nonprofit event.

To conclude, your professional paid work history is not the only type of work that belongs on your resume. By putting your volunteer work on a resume, you can expand on and elaborate on what makes you special and what makes you unique and the only one who can do what you do in the way that you do it. In short, volunteer work on your professional resume enhances your brand. If you are concerned that you don’t know how to incorporate your volunteer work into your resume, contact a professional resume writing service. Call Amy at 801-810-JOBS for some quick insights on how to evolve your personal brand into a package hiring managers will appreciate.

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

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