Volunteer Work

Volunteer Work: How They Make Your Resume Shine


As you search for jobs, employers want to see evidence of your work experience, key skills, volunteer work, professional experience, soft skills, and character. However, if you don’t have much work experience yet or one specific skill set, it can be difficult to show proof of your capabilities on paper.

Volunteer experience is a great way to add a unique element to your resume and make yourself stand out from the competition during your job search because candidates with volunteer experience were a lot more likely to get hired!

It won’t matter if you have zero job history or average skills – when hiring managers see that you took initiative by spending your time helping others in need, they will recognize your strong work ethic and affinity for community service! 

From working with homeless shelters to teaching English abroad to getting involved in local politics, there truly are endless possibilities for volunteering! No matter what direction you choose to go with volunteering, we’ll provide you with some tips on how to make the most of it! 

So, let’s get right into it! 

Is Volunteer Work The Same As A Gap Year?

Volunteer work is often compared to a gap year, but that is not really the case. There are key differences between the two. A gap year usually involves traveling and working for one or more organizations in multiple countries.

Meanwhile, volunteer work can be done on a part-time or full-time basis, even from your own home. You could donate your time to tutor underprivileged kids or volunteer to help out with campaigns from political parties within your region.

Regardless of whether you decide to take a gap year or do volunteer jobs, both can add valuable experiences and skills that employers look for when considering candidates for hire. Plus, employers value evidence of selflessness and civic engagement—qualities found in employees who have done volunteering work! 

Even though both of these can actually be seen in a negative light sometimes, you should not let that hold you back from showing off your volunteer work because it is still experience that has surely enhanced your quality as a person! 

Why Is It Important To Put Your Volunteer Work On Your Resume? 

Volunteer work looks great on your resume and can help you stand out among the competition. Just make sure to only include experiences that are related to the job you’re applying for!

By listing your volunteer jobs, you’re showing that you have strong values and a can-do attitude – all qualities that employers look for in potential hires.

You may also boost your chances of getting called in for an interview; employers usually like a dedication to service, which volunteering demonstrates.

Not only that but listing your volunteer work immediately impresses hiring managers by indicating how dedicated you are to contribute outside of the office. It speaks volumes about your character, drives, and enthusiasm which will no doubt attract their attention!

What Kind Of Volunteer Work Belongs In Your Resume? 

Now, volunteer work is very broad and it can be anything, which is why you need to know the right type of volunteer work you need to add! If you are trying to figure out which type of volunteer work is proper to add then this section is for you! 

Skill-Based Volunteer Experience:

Skill-based volunteer experience is the most proper type to add to your resume because it involves utilizing professional or technical skills when volunteering. It can include social media, web design, coding, writing, and translation – any skill that you possess that can be helpful to a nonprofit organization.

These activities can out rightly benefit a nonprofit by helping them with projects they couldn’t have done without your help. Additionally, having this kind of volunteer experience on your resume showcases hard skills and valuable assets which employers look for in potential hires.

Apart from adding value to the organization while also building your resume, volunteering provides an excellent platform to “test drive” potential career options and roles before committing to it full-time.

Overall, skill-based volunteer experience is highly beneficial as it allows you to develop new skill sets, explore opportunities and make an impact in the lives of others all at the same time!

Where Does Volunteer Work Belong On Your Resume? 

Volunteer work can make your resume shine, but where do you add it? 

Volunteer experience deserves a two-part designation on your resume. Showcasing your volunteer work is all about placing your unpaid efforts in the ideal location so that hiring managers and recruiters can easily see it.

Your volunteer work should appear first either on the spotlight or tile section of your resume, depending on which format you’re using. This section usually highlights top accomplishments and experiences in a bulleted list. Placing your volunteer experience here allows you to open with a strong skill set that employers are sure to appreciate.

You should also include an ‘Experience’ section dedicated solely to listing all of your unpaid roles, projects, and initiative volunteer opportunities under their respective orderings. This, especially when it is relevant experience, enables employers to quickly digest which volunteer initiatives you contributed to, what they entailed, and how long they lasted.

Having both listed will give interviewers an impressive insight into the breadth of your character! 

How Can You List Your Volunteer Experience

This volunteer involvement adds texture to the resume and helps an individual stand out from the competition. To increase the impact of these experiences, you should list your volunteer jobs just like any other job on your resume.

This volunteer involvement adds texture to the resume and helps an individual stand out from the competition. To increase the impact of these experiences, you should list your volunteer jobs just like any other job on your resume.

Include the organization that you volunteered with, outline your activities, and be sure to include why you chose to participate and what skills you developed. Fleshing out this experience will make it become an even more integral part of who you are as an applicant.

Another thing that you can do is add bullet notes. Bullets notes can really help visualize the list of all the tasks that were performed while volunteering in a particular program or initiative. Distilling down your roles and responsibilities genuinely brings life to your accomplishments in a way that can make all the difference when applying for jobs! 

Should Activism Be Included Too? 

Activist volunteering is another great way to add some sparkle to your resume. When you participate in activism, you’re making a conscious effort to personalize your goals and make your mark in the world.

Really, what’s better than dedicating your time and energy to championing causes that matter? Employers look favorably upon that level of passion and dedication!

Activism experience gives you an edge because it shows recruiters you genuinely care about the issues at hand. Plus, when employers are looking for people dedicated to creating positive change, activism goes a long way!

Whether it’s small local initiatives or bigger worldwide movements – activist volunteering makes a huge impression on employers and looks great on resumes. So consider adding it to your list of volunteer activities!

Please keep in mind that this has to be catered specifically to the job you are applying to! 

How Do You Talk About Your Volunteer Work? 

Let’s say you have made it to the round of on-site interviews, and now your hiring manager is asking you questions about all of the impressive experience you have gained through your volunteer work. How do you respond to that without stuttering or sounding like you don’t think those experiences are good enough? 

We have some sample answers for you that can help you brainstorm! 

Sample Answer #1:

“I volunteered at a local food bank, helping to sort and distribute donations. Through this experience, I learned the importance of teamwork and communication, as we needed to coordinate efforts to ensure that everyone was working efficiently. I also gained a greater appreciation for the impact that even small acts of kindness can have on people in need. Overall, it was a humbling and rewarding experience that taught me valuable skills and strengthened my commitment to giving back to the community.”

Sample Answer #2: 

“I volunteered at my previous company’s charity event, helping to organize the logistics and coordinate volunteers. It was a great opportunity to give back to the community while also strengthening my teamwork and leadership skills. I learned about the importance of effective communication and delegation, as well as the impact that a united effort can have in achieving a common goal. Overall, it was a rewarding experience that allowed me to contribute to a great cause and learn valuable skills that I can bring to any team.”

 Sample Answer #3: 

“During my time volunteering at [firm name], I was able to support the team in various projects, including organizing fundraising events and conducting research for the company’s social media strategy. It was a fulfilling experience to be able to contribute my skills and collaborate with a group of passionate individuals towards a common goal.”

These are just a couple of sample answers we gathered but you can do all the alterations you want and customize them as needed! 

Final Thoughts 

To conclude, it is safe to say that choosing to volunteer is a great way to add experience and valuable skills to your resume that can land you the job of your dreams! 

Volunteering teaches responsibility, discipline, empathy, and so much more—all traits that hiring managers look for in a potential employee. So go find an amazing volunteer opportunity and make it yours. Who knows–this could be the beginning of something special for your career!

Good luck! 

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