Should Volunteer Work be Included in a Resume?
Nonprofit organizations provide services to communities due to the hard work done by volunteers. Volunteering can help individuals network and gain marketable skills, all while making a difference for others. Although, it still begs the question, should volunteer work be included in a resume?
It’s important to remember that the goal of your resume is to land an interview. If your volunteer work assists in accomplishing this, it is a good idea to add it.
Hiring managers spend around seven seconds looking at your resume. Volunteer and other unpaid work experiences are often leveraged by recent grads and those reentering the workforce. However, if your work experience is extensive, and your volunteer work is not relevant, adding it to your resume will take up space.
If you’re still asking yourself “should volunteer work be included in a resume”, consider the following three questions:
- Are there parallels between the prospective job and your volunteer work?
In general, only list a volunteer experience if there is a direct parallel between it and the prospective job. For example, it would be relevant for an elementary school teacher applicant to list volunteer experience at a children’s camp. Not someone who is applying to a data science position.
- Does the volunteer position highlight transferable skills?
Only if it has helped you develop skills that align with the responsibilities of the position you are applying for. Let’s say you are applying for a communications position. You have developed and managed the social media pages of a nonprofit, be sure to include the work on your resume.
- Is volunteering important to your potential employer?
Your volunteer section should be tailored to your prospective position and employer. It is acceptable to include volunteer experiences if you are applying for a job role at an organization known for its philanthropic pursuits.
If you’ve decided to include a volunteer position on your resume, place it below your professional experiences. Additionally, be sure to clearly label it as volunteer work. All volunteer experiences on your resume should include the title of your role, key accomplishments (such as money raised or initiatives launched) and any specific skills you’ve gained.
The benefits to unrelated volunteer work
So should volunteer work be included in a resume?
It’s important to remember that even unrelated community service is valuable to your job search. It just might not be a necessary bullet point on your resume. Volunteering provides countless opportunities to meet new and interesting people. These connections can be priceless in a job market where it is estimated that 80% of jobs are filled through personal and professional connections.
Volunteering also provides a risk-free way to explore new industries and develop valuable soft skills. Who knows, your volunteer experiences could be a pleasant conversation starter once you land a job interview!
Bottom line summary:
There are three things to consider when it comes to asking yourself the initial question ” should volunteer work be included in a resume.” After a careful self and job role evaluation, you should be able to answer the question.
If you are struggling with your job search and resume LeadUp Career is here to help. Check out our resume toolkit and other services that might be of assistance.