How to Integrate Volunteer Experience into your Resume

Many students today are participating in amazing service and volunteering with great organizations on and off campus, but when it comes time to put experiences on résumés, there is often hesitation on whether to include this information.

“Do employers even care about my volunteering?”

“But I didn’t get paid to do that work, should I even bother?”

“Is it even important to include those activities?”

The answer: YES!

The point of a résumé is to show your skills, capabilities and uniqueness as a candidate.  But does experience gained through service really matter? Yes, it does. This information shows prospective employers that you are willing to try new things, be involved in a variety of projects and take initiative.  Service and volunteer experience can show just as many transferable skills (communication, organization, leadership) as any other position on your résumé.

So, where do you include service work on your résumé?  Volunteer experience can be placed in its own section, or right alongside other work experience depending on how your résumé is formatted. For example, if you volunteer in a classroom and are an education major, you may have an “Education Experience” section on your résumé. Both your paid and volunteer work could be put under this section in reverse chronological order (most recent experience listed first).    In another example, if you are the president of a club on campus, but also volunteered as an alternative break trip director, you could list both of these under a “Leadership Experience” section on your résumé.  As long as you are staying consistent with how you format your résumé you can include your volunteering where it best fits.

Another reminder is that volunteer work should be presented with the same importance and value as other work that you have done. People tend is to only discuss paid work experience in depth and then to group volunteering work in its own section with a lack details.  Volunteer experiences can have bullet points just like other areas of your résumé! Check out here on how to write a great bullet point!

If you have volunteer experience you would like to integrate into your résumé, try the tips above then come into the Center for Career Development for a résumé critique Monday through Friday 10am-5pm!

By Erin Jouliot
Erin Jouliot Careers for the Common Good (CCG) Graduate Assistant Erin Jouliot