A volunteer work experience includes any work you have done without being paid. Generally, there is no necessity to list volunteer work experience on a resume. Including one, however, is a great way to get some edge over other candidates.
It allows you to stand out from the rest and showcase your interests. Also, if you are applying for a job in non-profit organizations or positions that value volunteering, these experiences are extremely beneficial.
Now, the question is when and how to list those experiences on your resume to gain an advantage.
Let us guide you on how to effectively include your volunteer work experience on a resume.
When should you include volunteer work experience?
It is best to add your volunteer work on the resume when you have limited working experience in that particular field. Like,
- When you are a recent college graduate with little professional experience or you are a student with zero working experience, your volunteering positions can prove to be of great value.
- When you are making a career change and have no relevant experience in the domain you will be working in, including your volunteering experiences will improve your chances by a good deal.
- When you have gaps in your career, adding your volunteer work will help fill that gap in your resume.
However, including your volunteer experiences on a resume is not limited to these cases. The truth is, it is never a bad time to include your volunteer work. Only if you have too much relevant experience or you do not have enough space left on your resume, it may be best to skip this.
Where to include your volunteer work experience on a resume?
In case you have limited paid job experiences, your volunteering positions become as significant as those other professional job roles. Also, in situations where you have relevant volunteer experiences for that particular job, the Work Experience section is the best place to write them.
On the contrary, when your volunteer works are not at all relevant for the position or you have extensive professional work experiences, it is better to create a separate section. Include this additional section at the bottom of your resume where you briefly describe your volunteer works.
How to describe your volunteer work experiences?
List your volunteer positions in the same structure or format you used to add your professional experience.
- Add your role as ‘Volunteer’ and any other additional titles that you held that describes your role. For example, include Volunteer Nurse Practitioner instead of adding only Volunteer.
- Mention the name of the organization or the company where you worked. Include the location and period (joining and leaving dates) of the work.
- List your duties and achievements that you had in that role using bullets under each volunteer experience.
- Use keywords and numbers and highlight them to emphasize your relevant skills and achievements.
XYZ Shelter, Manila
Dec 2019 – March 2020
- Collaborated with a team of IT specialists to design a website to report missing animals
- Oversaw a community animal rescue campaign and participated in outreach programs to improve the conditions of animal shelters
- Identified the food supplies that were being wasted and adjusted them accordingly to reduce the cost of the yearly operations by 5%
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