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Should You Include Volunteer Work in Your Resume? 


On average, employers receive 250 resumes for each job offer, interview 4-6 candidates for the job, and will only hire one candidate who they see fit. Needless to say, employers are picky when it comes to recruitment, but these are needed to ensure the business has the best talents on board. But how do HR personnel assess competitive applicants? What do they see in an applicant’s resume and cover letter? Does a volunteer job count or do they only see work experiences?

According to a Deloitte survey, 82 percent of hiring managers are more likely to choose a candidate with volunteering experience. Of this number, 85 percent are even willing to overlook CV flaws when a candidate includes volunteer work. This finding does not come from nowhere. Volunteering illustrates a lot about a candidate’s character, both as an individual and a professional. Even at the workplace, employers will often provide their employees with volunteering opportunities as it offers a better overall working environment and wellbeing. 

How employers view volunteer jobs

If you do not have paid-job experience, you still have a chance of getting hired. In general, HR personnel in a company or recruitment agency distinguish your voluntary jobs to be:

  • Educational. You have actual on-the-job training, an edge over those who are fresh graduates who learned everything from books. You might be considered better than those who have previously paid job experience.

  • Experience. The classroom environment is totally different from the actual environment. Your experience as a volunteer equips you with the current events that are actually going on in the workplace.

  • Cost-effective. Companies are keeping their operational expenditures at the most minimal level. If you are willing to work for free, then you can be more willing to work if you are paid fairly.

  • Passion. If you worked as a volunteer, an employer might think that you have a passion for the job. Passion is a trait many employers look for in their candidates. 

  • Willingness. As an employee, it will be hard to come forward and volunteer to do something that you do not like. Through volunteer work, you are showing the employers your willingness to give your time wholly for the things you wanted to do.

See also: How to Message Recruiters on Linkedin 

How to include volunteer experience in your resume

If you have gained volunteer experiences from any paid or unpaid volunteer opportunities, you can showcase them by including the details under the Leadership and Activities section on your resume. Or, if you have done some volunteering, you can add a dedicated section such as follows to your resume. 

  • Leadership jobs. A section if your volunteer works required you to participate in any decision-making process.

  • Hospitality jobs. If the volunteer work is about customer service and patient care.

  • Research jobs. If you are involved in actual immersion in social, cultural and environmental studies, this is a big factor to highlight in your resume.

How to write the detail of your volunteer jobs

You can either write your volunteer parts in bullet points or write them in description-bullet points. Here are the examples: 

Description-bullet points - It is meant if you have several responsibilities during your volunteering. Make sure to write only those that are relevant to the job that you are applying for. 

Software Engineer Experience, Two Rivers, Georgia “(Write virtual/online if you conduct the volunteering online)” 

  • Held a volunteer position as a software engineer for Two Rivers organisations, duties include web design and record-keeping 

  • Developed a front-end WordPress blog with 1000+ pages 

  • Customised a web app to track clients and donators 

  • Managed online ads to announce regular events and fundraising 

Bullet points - If you have done some volunteering in a sector that does not require you to have several job responsibilities, such as the hospitality sector. 

  • Volunteer once a month as a clothes intake assistant at OkTake organisations 

  • Food prep volunteer 2x per month at a local soup kitchen 

  • Collaborated in a team of 5 fellow volunteers to renovate 2 houses of risk families in Atlanta

  • Planned and organised IT projects for the local Red Cross 

When NOT to include volunteer jobs 

There are also volunteer jobs that you should be left off from your resume. You have to identify them carefully or you will ruin your winning curriculum vitae. Do not include jobs when:

  • Your mere role in the whole volunteer work is to seal envelopes and other similar tasks.

  • You raise funds for charity. Charity works are not meant to be broadcasted, even on resumes.

Choose the significant experiences you will include in your resume and impress your prospective employers about your achievements!

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