How To Put Volunteer Work on Your Resume
Many jobseekers ask if they should include volunteer work on their resumes when seeking new employment.
Some employers value volunteer experiences as equally important as paid experiences —particularly if the volunteer experiences gave you client or customer contact.
Others don’t see volunteer experience the same as paid experience, but they still want to see what you do in your spare time.
I strongly suggest that volunteer experience is listed on your resume.
Use discretion in terms of how you word and represent it. Here are two options:
- Include your volunteer work in the “work experience” section if your volunteer experience is akin to an internship, providing you with real, professional experience and exposure. If you choose this option, do NOT label the section “employment history.”
- Include your volunteer work in a “Leadership” section, if you want to showcase your outstanding volunteer leadership. Describe your volunteer work with an eye toward highlighting how you lead a project, a committee, or a positive process of change.
Whichever option you choose:
- Be careful to not suggest or imply that it was paid.
- Be sure to explain what professional benefit it gave you – exposure to skills, management experience, introduction to a new industry, etc.
When you are in an interview and further questions arise about your resume, you’ll be free to talk more fully about your volunteer work.
When it comes to your resume, show the full spectrum of your experience – from paid work to volunteer service.
Hiring managers are more likely to consider you for a position because you’ve been forthright and generous with your information.
Angie Kamath, who overseesWorkforce1 as the Deputy Commissioner of Workforce Development at the NYC Department of Small Business Services, shares her perspective on Workforce1 and the New York City job market every Wednesday in her weekly Jobs in New York City column.
Have a response to Angie’s column? Drop her a note in the comment section below! And, if you found this helpful, please share it with friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and email!