Being a volunteer and doing charity work are admirable activities and if you’ve ever volunteered you should be proud of yourself. But aside from the altruistic benefits of being a volunteer, you should know that being a volunteer can be great for your career as well.
In fact, some employers will view your volunteer experience as proper work experience which can be extremely helpful if you are a recent graduate who hasn’t had many or any jobs. Moreover, if you’ve been unemployed for lengthy periods of times and you’ve worked as a volunteer during that time, this can also assist you in getting a job.
But, you should be mindful of the fact that being a volunteer doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get any job you want. To get the job, you need to know how to make the most of your volunteer work on your résumé, and the article below will help you do that.
Why is volunteering good for your career?
Before we delve into how to leverage your volunteering experience, it’s important to understand why volunteering can be great for your career. You were probably told this when you were at school, and you probably used it in your university application, but do you actually know how it can benefit your résumé?
The reason employers think volunteer work is great is that it speaks to someone’s character and attitude to life in general. If, for example, you used to volunteer and you’ve tried your hand at different things it shows that you’re willing to try new experiences. It also shows that you’re self-motivated, which is an essential asset for all employees. It shows your willingness to take initiative and make things happen which proves that you have all the soft-skills an employer could hope his or her employee to have.
Moreover, volunteer work is important as it can help you acquire hard skills as well. If, for example, you used to help a charitable organisation with their accounting you can definitely use that in your past work experience section as it's relevant even if it was unpaid. So, volunteer work can help you apply for any job you want even if your paid work experience falls short of the job requirements.
How to use volunteer work on your résumé
To use your volunteer work so that it makes your résumé seem focused and determined it’s important to list it correctly. And this means spending some time deciding exactly where on the résumé you’re going to include volunteer work.
If you have experience that’s completely relevant, you can include it in the ‘Related Work Experience’ section of your résumé. Even if it was unpaid work you should still list it there as it demonstrates your experience.
But, if it’s not relevant and you just want to add your volunteer work to showcase your soft skills you should make a different section, for example ‘Volunteering Experience’ and list your volunteer work there.
Remember that volunteering speaks to your motivation as a person so always include it on your résumé but be mindful of how you add it as this can make the difference between getting hired or not.
Do you have any other tips in regards to how to use volunteer work on our résumés? If you do, please let us know in the comment section below.