You’ve probably heard the advice about using volunteering experience to beef up your resume. But how exactly do you list it along with your previous experience? There’s an art and a science to creating a good resume that will get suitable attention. Here’s how to add volunteering experience to your resume and show off your skills and experience.
Volunteering opportunities where you’ve taken a leadership role are great for a resume. Have you started an organization to help out with something specific in your community? Have you used your particular leadership skills to help organize an event or fundraising? If you’ve done anything like this, include it on your resume to showcase how you can be a leader.
As a rule of thumb, unless your volunteer experience is significant, you can leave off anything that doesn’t directly apply to your experience. For example, if you helped out with a bake sale to raise money for scouts, it probably isn’t worth including on your resume. But, if you volunteered at an organization that helps people create resumes and find jobs, that could be pretty relevant.
You can also include volunteer experience if the organization is directly related to the company’s values. In your research, you’ll see how the company is involved in the community, and if your experience and theirs line up, go ahead and include it on the resume. For example, if the company values include environmental responsibility, you can add the volunteer work you’ve done with community cleanup projects.
Adding Volunteering to Your Resume
Once you’ve determined what you’re going to include, you’ll need to know how to include it. There are two common types of resumes: reverse chronological and functional.
Reverse Chronological Resume
In this resume, you’ll include all of your experience, starting with your most recent job. Under each job title and company, you’ll share your experience, skills, and accomplishments. If your volunteer work was significant, such as being on a board of directors, you could include it right in your list of jobs. Or you can create a small subsection at the end about volunteering and include your accomplishments there.
A functional resume focuses more on accomplishments and skills with only a short-bulleted list of employers in another section. For this kind of resume, weave the experience you’ve had volunteering in with your accomplishments. Be sure to include it as a bullet in the second part of your resume.
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