A high-quality resume contains neatly organized relevant information about you and your previous professional experiences. However, for some reason, people feel intimidated by the idea of listing their volunteering experience on a resume.
Just because you didn’t get paid, doesn’t mean the experience wasn’t valuable and beneficial for your professional career. As stated by Forbes, volunteer experience can give employers a unique insight into their candidates and allow to stretch their skill set. That’s why you must list volunteer experience on a resume., especially if you’re changing career in the Armed Forces to civilian life. It will help you create a better picture of your capabilities and how you can apply the skills you received in the military to civilian tasks.
However, bear in mind that you need to do it properly to make it count. If you’re wondering how to list volunteer experience on your resume to make you stand out from other candidates, just keep reading.
Here’s everything you need to know about properly listing your volunteer experience on the resume.
How you list volunteer experience depends on the job you’re applying for and the type of volunteer work you’ve had.
With that being said, it's obvious you can't have one generic resume you'll keep sending out when applying for different jobs.
On the contrary, you need to:
To understand exactly what you have to pay attention to, we’ll break down each of the possible scenarios and help you handle them all.
Let’s take a look at the situations you’ll be facing.
As we’ve already covered, your volunteer experience is just as important as any experience gained at a paid job position. That’s why you need to treat it the same.
The first possible scenario that you may face is the following:
This means that:
This is all the reason you need to list this volunteer experience in the work experience section. This is especially important if you have little or no paid experience before or after the military service.
Let’s look at an example to gain a better understanding of how to do it.
- wrote over 100 SEO optimized blog posts
- brought 25% of the organic traffic
- managed brainstorming sessions and project planning strategies
- worked with 10+ team members in a dynamic, productive atmosphere
Your experience working for SkySteps is of great importance for your future business ventures. You’ve learned a lot and can apply that knowledge to the job you’re applying for.
It would be wrong and ineffective to list this experience in the “additional experience” section:
No one's even going to acknowledge this as valuable when you write it like this.
The second scenario you may be facing requires a different approach to listing your volunteer experience on a resume.
The situation you may find yourself in is the following:
A lot of experience, both paid and volunteer, may make a mess out of your resume if you don’t list it properly. It’s important not to leave anything out, but you need to make a clear distinction between the actual work experience and volunteer work.
Naturally, most employers or hiring managers will be interested in learning about your work experience first. However, they’ll appreciate reading about your volunteer work as well.
This requires you to:
Let’s take a look at another example to help us comprehend it all easier.
This volunteer experience has made you who you are today, and it needs to be visible in your resume.
Don’t leave it out just because you have paid experience which might be “more important”. Let the hiring managers decide that.
Finally, there’s one more scenario you may be facing when listing your volunteer experience on a resume:
Does this mean you should leave it out?
Lindsey Cohen, a recruitment specialist for Top Writers Review shared: “Just because volunteer experience isn’t relevant for the job you’re applying for, doesn’t mean it won’t be valuable for the hiring manager reading your resume.”
On a pile of 100 resumes all looking the same, your children’s hospital volunteer work may be what catches the eye of the hiring manager and gives you a shot for an interview.
This means that:
Here’s an example to illustrate it.
Once a hiring manager read this interesting fact about you, he’ll definitely remember you and form a more specific opinion about you. Consequently, that will separate you from a ton of other candidates with similar resumes.
Volunteerism is more than just working for free with the goal of climbing the corporate ladder. On the contrary, it’s a valuable experience which benefits your personality and makes you a better human being.
Here are the major benefits of volunteerism:
According to Forbes, “60% of hiring managers see the act of volunteerism as a valuable asset when making recruitment decisions”.
Therefore, don’t hesitate in investing your time and energy into something that isn’t necessarily a strictly professional journey.
Use volunteerism to learn about yourself, help others and boost your self-image.
Volunteer experience is valuable, especially if you’re looking for a job after leaving the Armed Forces. Hiring managers and future employers respect it and might find it equally as important as the paid experience you've had. With that being said, it's more than clear you should never leave a volunteering experience out of your resume.
You do need to pay attention to how you’re listing it. Use the advice we’ve listed above and apply it to your resume today. Think about each of those bullet points carefully and decide where and how to list your volunteer experience on you resume.