Polishing your resume? Don’t forget your volunteer work and experience. Many candidates brush it aside because they weren’t paid for their services, but experience is still experience. Furthermore, including a repertoire of volunteer activity reveals strength of character and indicates your compatibility to company culture. Your volunteer experience can be especially relevant for recent grads who have the education, but haven’t had time to build experience or for those who are re-entering the workforce after an extended leave of absence. Regardless of your present working status, if the company you are pursuing is community and philanthropy-minded, including volunteer experience can be the key that short-lists your resume.
If you have volunteer work to include, we’ve presented some important guidelines to assist you.
Incorporate: Include your volunteer work and experience with your paid jobs – not as a separate section on your resume. Be honest about the fact that it was volunteer experience, but focus on the same aspects you cover about paid work.
Titles: Titles catch the attention of HR. They are a summary of your experience in a given role. If your volunteer position included a title – use it. If it didn’t officially include a title, find an appropriate title that accurately sums up you role and use it.
Show, don’t tell: Document how your service made an impact on the organization – especially if it improved their bottom-line. Why and how is the organization where you volunteered better because of your involvement?
Skills: Highlight the skills and knowledge you used in your volunteer role – including soft skills. Document the skills you used, and how those skills specifically apply to your professional title. If you are customizing your resume to a specific position, state how the skills you used apply to that position.
Be Relevant: If you have volunteer work/experience that isn’t particularly connected to your profession, or the positon for which you are applying, don’t over-fill the main body of your resume. If you feel like it is still important, then briefly list it at the end of your resume under “additional volunteer history”
Volunteering helps others and reaps personal rewards – including putting a shine on your resume. Don’t neglect to use this and every positive aspect that will make you a standout candidate. Contact Springborn today. We help candidates use all their experience – both paid and volunteer – to snag their dream position in Bangor and Portland, Main.