photo credit: Terrie Farley @ Drowning Pool Concert, Stuttgart, 2013


You create newsletters, Facebook pages or websites in the name of team spirit.

You fundraise ad nauseum for the righteous cause du jour, whatever it may be.

You freely give of your time, expertise and talents to others.

You are a rock star even though you may only think of yourself simply as a volunteer.

Here’s my question to you today:

 Are you capturing that valuable volunteer experience on your resume?

It is, after all, WORK experience whether you received a paycheck for it or not.  Make no mistake about it. Volunteerism matters. It matters on an intrinsic level and it matters on a career-enhancing level, too.

Employers like to hire people who volunteer. It reeks of leadership and community involvement. It shows that you care and that you are connected. It shows that you are proactive and motivated to learn and contribute to society in some form or fashion.

What’s not to love here, people? Talk about your ultimate win-win situation.

How then, can you effectively capture your awe-inspiring volunteer experience on your resume?

It depends.

If there is a direct skills relationship between your volunteer job and the type of job you are trying to land, then treat that volunteer experience exactly as you would any paying job you held in the past.  Give it the space it deserves as another job on your resume.  Omit the use of the word “volunteer” in the job title. Use an appropriate position title and provide an accomplishments-based description as your work narrative.

If, however, your volunteer work experience does not directly support the type of job you are seeking but could still make you look good in the eyes of a potential employer, then consider adding it elsewhere on your resume in a separate section titled something like Community Service.

Being a volunteer is good and you’ll surely be rewarded for it sometime on some level, earthly or not.

Until then, give yourself credit for it on your resume.  I bet even Bono did that at some point.


Categories: Resume focus

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