“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”
~Winston Churchill

63 million Americans volunteer to give back to the community. According to a study by the Corporation of National and Community Service:

  • Volunteering increases your chances of getting a job by 27%
  • 82% of employers choose candidates with some volunteering experience

But why do employers prefer professionals who volunteer? Volunteering not just helps to give back to the community but candidates who volunteer develop real-world skills, make connections and lead more balanced lives. This inadvertently leads to improving their job prospects.

Do you wish to volunteer at an organization? Then, write a stellar volunteer resume and apply for the aspired role!

How do I Write a Volunteer Resume?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics people frequently volunteered for religious organizations, educational and youth-related, and social or community service organizations, in that order. Any such kind of volunteer work can be mentioned on the resume.

A volunteer role is as competitive as a paid role. Whether you wish to gain experience or you think that volunteer work would help you with future job prospects, the volunteer resume should be impressive.

A volunteer resume, just like any other resume, is a one-page document. It contains a resume header, a resume summary, employment history, education history, skills, awards, and certifications sections.

Follow this guide to draft a job-winning volunteer resume:

Choose the Best Resume Layout for Volunteer Resume

The goal of resume writing is to make the best case for your candidacy at the preferred organization. The resume layout or format is crucial to drafting an easy-to-read resume. There are three types of resume formats to choose from:

  • Reverse Chronological Resume Format: It includes your work history in a reverse chronology, listing the most recent first. Candidates with a linear career trajectory prefer it.
  • Functional Resume Format: It focuses on the candidate’s skill set as opposed to work experience. Candidates who change their field of work or return after an employment gap prefer this.
  • Hybrid Resume Format: As the name suggests, it gives equal importance to both professional experience and job skills. A candidate with little or no experience prefers this.

Choose a suitable resume format and begin drafting your volunteer resume!

Also Read: How do I write volunteer work on a resume?

The Resume Header

The resume header contains important personal information such as your current job title, organization name, email address, and location of work. You could also add your portfolio link with your personal information.

You can follow this format for the resume header section:

  • Full Name
  • Current Job Title
  • Name of Organization
  • Location of Work
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number(optional)
  • Portfolio Link(optional)

The Volunteer Resume Summary

The resume summary is a professional statement describing your experience, accomplishments, and career goals. It highlights your expertise to the recruiter and explains why you are the best person for the volunteering role.

The volunteer resume summary should be compelling enough to grab the recruiter’s attention instantly. For instance, a dedicated volunteer with expertise in administrative support, project execution, and communications, or skilled at handling cross-functional roles, who adjusts well in a fast-paced environment, will grab the recruiter's attention.

The Volunteer Resume Employment History Section

The employment history is an important section in the volunteer resume containing details of the previous jobs held, major responsibilities undertaken, and accomplishments achieved during the tenure.

The volunteer resume’s employment history section should be customized as per the volunteer role applying for. As a volunteer, you would be required to:

  • Mentor a group
  • Coach kids
  • Fund-raise for a noble cause
  • Care for the old
  • Feed the hungry
  • Plant trees
  • Run campaigns
  • Update records
  • Analyze data
  • Raise awareness

But, how to list volunteer work on a resume?

Read the job description carefully and emphasize points that directly relate to the desired volunteer work. For instance, if you have volunteered for a child rights organization in the past, then use your lessons and experience to draft bullet points for the volunteer experience on your resume.

Showcase how your involvement created an impact on the organization, when possible. For instance, ran an anti-drugs campaign that helped 10% of the addicted neighborhood youth avail rehabilitation services.

If you do not have relevant work experience, then try to show how the work you have done so far makes you a great fit. Connect your education, extra-curricular activities, professional experience, and skills to show the recruiter that you would positively contribute to the organization.

Also Read: How do I decode the volunteer coordinator job description?

The Volunteer Resume Education Section

The education section contains the details about the degree, relevant certifications, coursework, etc. The education section is the major focus of a resume if the candidate has little to no experience.

Mention the name of the recent institution, and location of the college, followed by the name of the degree. Also, mention the date of passing out. Follow the same format for all the degrees to be mentioned in the volunteer resume.

If the candidate is a fresher or does not have extensive professional experience, then mention the relevant certifications, coursework, and academic honors or awards received during college, along with the other details.

The Volunteer Resume Skills Section

The volunteer resume skills section should demonstrate a strong work ethic and inclination to help others or support a cause. Employers wish to hire volunteers who are compassionate and willing to support others.

The volunteer resume skills section is a key section to highlight your motivation for the desired cause. The key skills for volunteers are:

Key Skills Key Skills
Compassion Organization
Leadership Planning
Strong work ethic Relationship-building
Teamwork Fast-learner
Time-management Empathy
Communication Adaptability
Passion Computer

You could also add skills that uniquely qualify you to gain an edge over your competitors. Say if you are good at resolving conflicts at the workplace, then you must mention it and bring it up during the interview.

Personal Projects, Languages, Interests & Hobbies

A volunteer resume could also include optional sections such as personal projects, languages known, interests, and hobbies. These sections would strengthen your case and convey that you are a good cultural fit.

For instance, you could include reading books, travel, or cooking in the interest and hobbies section. This also gives the interviewer room to question you about different aspects of your personality if shortlisted.

Remember to include the resume sections that detail your strongest assets. Look at your resume from the eyes of a recruiter and decide whether to include optional sections. If you decide to go ahead with it, then choose the order of the optional sections in a decreasing manner of relevance- the most relevant section comes first.

Also Read: Which skills to include in a compelling resume?

General Tips to Follow for Your Volunteer Resume

Volunteering not only looks good on a resume, but it is a great way to be there for others. So, a volunteer resume should be drafted with the same sincerity as for a paid role.

Follow these tips to draft the perfect volunteer resume:

Revise Your Resume for Each Application

You have to tailor the resume for every application. Follow the following steps when drafting a resume for a new volunteer application:

  • Go through the organization’s website
  • Change the job title of your resume
  • Create a summary of qualifications mentioned in the job description
  • Remove the irrelevant work experience
  • Pick keywords from the job description
  • Customize the resume as per the organization’s preferences

Attach a Cover Letter to Emphasize Your Interest

A cover letter is a document that accompanies your resume to emphasize your motivation for the role. It introduces the candidate to the hiring committee.

A cover letter is 3-4 paragraphs long and contains reasons or anecdotes from the candidate’s life that inspired them to apply. You can choose personal history, stories from your workplace, or your musings to write the cover letter.

Such instances uniquely qualify you. They convey your interest effectively. A cover letter thus increases your chances of getting shortlisted.

Also Read: What are the do’s and don'ts for writing a resume?

Key Takeaways

A volunteer resume should be drafted in a compelling way. Remember to:

  • Add key sections, such as resume header, resume summary, employment history, education history, and skills.
  • Add optional sections such as languages known, awards and honors received, and hobbies & interests, to showcase your personality.
  • The resume header should include the important contact information of the candidate.
  • The resume summary should include your expertise and career goals.
  • The employment history section should include details of jobs held in reverse chronological order.
  • The education section should include details of the graduation degree and other relevant certifications, or degrees.
  • The skills section should include important skills and abilities of the candidate as per the job description.
  • Revise the resume for every application before sending it to the recruiter.
  • Attach a cover letter to increase your chances of shortlisting.

Are you looking for a role to volunteer? Visit Hiration’s resume builder for a smooth resume-building experience.

Additionally, you can reach out to us at support@hiration.com for any other queries.

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