If you have volunteer experience, you may be wondering if you should add it to your resume. The answer is yes! Whether you’re a recent grad or a seasoned employee, highlighting your volunteer experience is a great way to enhance your resume. Below are five benefits to adding volunteer experience to your resume, plus a bonus: how to add it!
1. It Showcases Your Personality
It’s often difficult to share personal details within a list of work-related skills and experiences. Volunteer work can clue in hiring managers to what you’re passionate about and make you stand out among other applicants. The hiring manager might also find common ground with you, which can smooth the initial interview process.
2. It Shows Your Dedication
Volunteer work isn’t about money or accolades. People volunteer to help causes they care about because they want to make a difference. Hiring managers will appreciate knowing that you’re willing to work for intrinsic rewards. This experience also shows your commitment to your community and caring for others.
3. It Highlights Your Ability to Make Connections
Volunteering can help expand your network and establish relationships with others. Your ability to work and get along with a variety of other people is a soft skill that employers value. Collect some stories about teamwork and your volunteering connections that you can share in your next interview!
4. It Can Fill Gaps in Experience
If you’re a recent grad without much job experience, your volunteer work can provide a starting point to your resume. Even if you’re a more seasoned worker, volunteer experience can fill a gap on your resume and show that you’re not one to just sit around.
5. It Can Help Define Your Career Goals
Volunteering is an easy way to gain experience outside your day-to-day job responsibilities. If you’re looking to transition to another career path, you can volunteer in that capacity to build your experience. Volunteering can also help you decide the type of business you’d like to work for or give you leadership experience where you’ve previously had none.
How to Add Volunteer Experience to Your Resume
There are two main ways you can add your volunteer work to your resume. If you’re looking to fill a gap in your career path or enhance your work experience, you can add the volunteer experience just like you would any other job. List your title (making it clear that you were a volunteer), the organization name, and the dates you volunteered. Add your responsibilities to that section, especially if they relate to your desired position.
If you have lots of work experience already, you can create a separate section on your resume for volunteer work. Include the same information as mentioned above, but you could use a more narrative description if you prefer.
Remember, you often learn soft skills like communication, networking, and leadership from volunteer work. Be sure to add these to the skills section on your resume if you have one. Also include any technical skills you’ve learned, like a specific computer program or operating system.