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You guessed right, your experience gained doing community service. This is not something that's found in the job description, it's something you do beforehand to expand your skill set.
But how do you properly list your background in community service on resume? You can’t just throw it in anywhere, since it needs to look professional. Don’t worry, we have you covered.
By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly where and how to list volunteer work in your job application and portray yourself as the perfect candidate. Let's get started.
Why Community Service History Will Delight Your Recruiter
According to this survey conducted by Deloitte, hiring managers are 82% more likely to prefer your job application if they list some experience in resume volunteer work.
Regardless of whether or not you’ve held paid positions in the past, the reason hiring managers want to see community involvement on your resume is that it proves that you have the skills needed.
Under what conditions should you include volunteer work on your resume? Here are some examples of instances where you should really consider doing so: ????
- If you’re a high school or college student with little to no professional experience.
- You may need to fill in a time gap on your resume.
- When you’re transitioning careers and taking up a new challenge.
- When you need to highlight leadership skills that you haven’t had the chance to showcase professionally yet.
In addition to having some form of experience in the field, it shows that you are a reliable person and can get the job done. This tells the employer that they can trust you to deliver when it is needed.
And bonus points if your area of volunteer work is the same as the job you’re applying for. You’re already a step ahead of everybody else and have some basic skills and relevant experience to make you the more viable option to be hired by employers.
What Counts as Community Service / Volunteer Work?
As the term states, you’re expected to help out the community through the services you provide. In a response to a job offer, you should be cautious and only list the volunteer experience if it is relevant.
But what exactly counts as volunteer work?
Here are some examples: ????
- Teaching underprivileged children basic grammar, maths, or other simple subjects.
- Coaching community sports teams.
- Working at an animal shelter.
- Volunteering at a blood drive.
- Distributing food among the needy / disaster relief programs.
- At an elderly home, spending time with the elderly.
- Church volunteer work.
In the next section, we will look at the best way to list your volunteer work on resume.
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Correctly Including Community Involvement in Resume
Any kind of volunteer work that you have done in the past can be classified into two types. It is either related to the field you’re taking up the job offer for, or it isn’t.
But, there are two particular cases when you should give your experience its own section even if you have prior professional experience. Here they are:
- When your resume volunteer experience doesn't fall under 'relevant experience'.
- When you're stepping into a new industry.
- When you have a history of paid volunteering.
The fact that you voluntarily work shows employers that you have desirable qualities like competence, teamwork, and a service-oriented mindset. List volunteer work that you did for your potential employers. Your ability to handle successful fundraising events will be well appreciated by others. To get noticed, don’t forget to have the perfect cover letter template.
So, if your branch of volunteer work is in any way related to the field you’re applying for, include it in the work experience section.
On the other hand, if it isn’t related, you can consider making an entirely new subheading for your volunteer work experience.
In either case, it is like a job in its own way. You do the work assigned to you and pick up new skills, while your seniors track and monitor your performance.
How to Maximize Your Community Service Experience on a Resume for Hiring Managers
You don’t always need to use the term ‘volunteer’ or browse a thesaurus for any other synonyms of the word.
Simply write “experience” following the field that you applied your skills to. Here’s how you get it right and impress the hiring managers:
Continent Records, Paradigm Technologies
- Made modifications to system controls as needed to keep all equipment operational.
- Tested the new system with the improvements to determine if it was effective in increasing production, and problem-solving.
- Created a WordPress Site with over 300 pages, including blog content.
- Record keeping for all clients of Continent Records.
Whenever you’re mentioning volunteer work under work experience, use this neat little trick to stand out. You can apply this to any other field, and all you have to do is write “(field name) experience” to highlight it. The volunteer position is almost secondary to the employer when you do this.
As you can see, you want to be very specific with the points you enlist under volunteering work experience. If you can, provide solid numbers to back up your achievements. This lets the employer know that you can deliver the numbers when needed.
While the example above will boost your chances of getting noticed by potential employers, the one below will certainly not:
- In a weekly running group.
- Volunteered for a local blood drive.
- Wrote fitness blog articles occasionally.
Do you realize how being specific can significantly boost your chances of getting noticed? The second example almost seems lazy.
And to someone for whom hard work will be a dealbreaker, that isn’t the best message to convey. You want to show the employer that you are enthusiastic and diligent, and that means listing the details of the work you did.
Ensure that you only include relevant skills and experience on your resume. You don’t want to cloud the solid parts of your resume with irrelevant experiences that aren’t directly relevant.
Ask yourself if they are relevant, if the answer is no, then don’t add it to your profile.
How to Perfectly List Your Volunteer Experience
Now you’re clear about the separate sections where you can list your experience. But how do you write the bullet points to elaborate on them? This section guides you through that process.
First, let’s look at a decent volunteer position listed in an improper manner.
Community Service on Resume
Now, no volunteering resume is complete without displaying the relevant volunteer experience. Every job description asks for one, and job seekers need to ideally be able to write down some resume volunteer experience.
- Administrative volunteer for the local church.
- Volunteer, Orange County Animal Shelter.
- Regular volunteer, local Red Cross Chapter.
- Volunteer, Habitat for Humanity.
There’s nothing wrong with writing your volunteering experience in this way. It tells the story that you’ve been of service in the past.
But that is all it communicates.
Ideally, you want to tell potential employers the key skills you picked up along the way. Not only that, you need to list the details to show what services you performed as a part of these teams. Here is an example of how to do it even better:
- Planned and participated in the Green Community Project held by the local Red Cross Chapter, planting over 200 trees.
- Executed events under 5% budget consistently at the local food bank for two successive years.
- Rescued 5 breeds of dogs from the neighborhood, leading a team of 11 volunteers.
The example above lists similar volunteering experiences, but it communicates them to the employer. It is an ‘experience’ that you’re showcasing, rather than stating that you were part of the team.
If you’re confused, try listing your most notable achievements as a part of the organization.
Always try to add more details to the bullet points, since that is the part of the resume where you have the chance to describe your time as a volunteer. You can use power words to help drive your point home, and use words such as ‘led’, ‘executed’, or ’engineered’ to make your experience as professional-sounding as it can be.
Writing a Cover Letter Along With Your Volunteer Resume
What skills do you have? Adding volunteering experience or any related experience helps. But do this in the right format. You may need to work on your resume to include relevant skills and meet job descriptions' requirements.
This is the only part of the resume where you will be directly communicating with the employer or the hiring manager. About 80% of hiring managers want to read a cover letter from applicants, along with their resumes.
Writing your volunteering experience on cover letters is challenging but will definitely make you stand out if you can fit it in somewhere. Especially if it is more valuable than other experience and directly relevant to the role.
If you fall into any of the following categories, then you should communicate your volunteer experience as part of the cover letter:
- High-school/college graduate.
- Career change aspirant.
- Have a professional gap in your resume
- Have limited professional experience
Much like a resume format, a great cover letter also follows a proper layout and needs to pop out. Here is how you draft your cover letter.
Start by listing your name, followed by your address. Having the right resume format is important.
Find out the hiring manager's name, followed by the name of the company and their address. If you cannot find the name and details on the company's website, feel free to call them up to find out. The perfect resume template doesn’t miss out on details like this.
Salutation and subject
Do your very best to get a name by contacting the employer and asking for the name of the hiring manager for the position. If you really cannot find a name, then address it to the person who is hiring for that role: Attention of the hiring manager for Assistant Manager position.
Follow this up by stating the subject of the letter which can be as simple as an 'application cover letter'.
The opening of the letter restates your name, and tells the reader where you found the job ad. Once you've done this, state what you hope to achieve through the job and what skills you'll bring to the table if selected.
This paragraph is also known as the 'hard sell' since you're pitching yourself for the job offer. As this is related to volunteer work benefits, we'll assume that you have little professional experience.
What you'll want to do in this situation is showcase how many years of volunteer work you've done, what you've accomplished and the key skills that you've picked up along the way. It is a great idea to then state why these skills will help you perform in a similar way in your career, or enhance your contributions to their organization. Keep this as concise as possible, ideally under 100 words.
The last paragraph thanks the hiring manager for their time, and restates your details if they want to reach out to you. This includes your phone number and your email id.
You can sound extra confident by saying a line such as: "I'd love to discuss this further and look forward to hearing from you about the offer."
Keep the ending simple. Use 'warm regards' or 'sincerely' followed by your full name.
And just like that, you have the recipe for a killer cover letter that can fetch you an interview for your dream job.
Summing Up Volunteer Work on a Resume
If you have volunteer work on your resume, it significantly boosts your chances of getting your target jobs. But, there might be other job seekers with similar, if not greater, volunteer experience as well. Volunteer experiences are always a plus point, as any resume expert would say.
So, you need to make your application stand out from everybody else by following the resume format we laid out for you above. Here are some quick reminders for you to remember everything we’ve discussed:
- Any kind of service you provide to the community for free or otherwise is known as community service, or volunteer work.
- You should list your volunteer resume experience under the professional experiences or job history section if it shows relevant skills.
- Make a separate section for volunteering work if it isn’t related to the industry, or you’re in a career change phase.
- Use bullet points to list your experience.
- Communicate your experience and your most notable achievement as part of the organization. Don’t overdo it.
- Use hard figures wherever possible, and use power words to emphasize your contributions.
How do you put community service on a resume?
Community service or related volunteer work can’t be pitched anywhere. You should list it in the work experience section of the resume if you have limited professional experience, are going through a career change, or had a professional break in the last few years.
If you are a student or a fresher, adding community service can convey to the hiring manager that you have desirable skills that you can bring to the table.
We prefer listing your experience of successful fundraising events in the form of bullet points where you can elaborate and draw attention to the work you did. You can also list your most notable experience here.
Why does community service look good on a resume?
Community service looks good on a resume because it shows that you have some form of professional experience in the past. It also tells the employer that you have acquired some specific skills in the field. As a fresher, this is your work history.
This research by Deloitte confirms almost every other hiring manager will concede that they prefer resumes with some form of volunteering experience on them.
What volunteer work looks good on a resume?
Any kind of volunteer work boosts the chances of your resume getting noticed. The best-case scenario is when the volunteer experiences you’ve had line up with the industry that you’re applying to. In this case, you can list the work in the professional experience section of your resume.
Having great soft and hard skills is very important in building up your profile in the professional world, and having volunteer work on your application shows that.
How do you describe volunteer work on a resume?
It can be quite daunting to sum up your months or even years of community service into one or two lines.
Remember that you need to make an impact in the reader’s mind with the experience bullet points. So, try listing your most prominent achievement(s) as a part of the team.
Use hard figures if possible, and try to showcase exactly what you brought to the team and how you used yourself to benefit the organization and their projects. You don’t need to list each and every achievement, only the most prominent ones.