How Volunteering Can Strengthen Your Resume
We’ve all heard the benefits of volunteering: making a difference in the lives of others, getting involved in your community, feeling good about giving back. But there are plenty of additional benefits to volunteer work, and one you may not expect: a more competitive resume.
You don’t need to solely depend on a new job, internship, or advanced degree to stand out in a job search. Below are 5 ways volunteering can boost your resume.
1) Strengthens professional experience
Volunteering can take on many forms, from planning fundraising events, building homes, to advising at-risk high school students. Finding a volunteer opportunity that is relevant to the career or internship you’re working towards is the first step. Once you do, incorporate it into your professional experience. This is especially helpful if you’re attempting to make a career change.
Perhaps you haven’t had extensive employment related to what you’re working towards, or you’re already working a full time job. In this case, a volunteer position where you have similar responsibilities to the job you want can help add substance to your resume.
2) Adds an additional section
Seeing too much empty, white space on your resume can be a scary thing; you want this document to be robust and attention-grabbing! Before you start adding more bullets to experience you already have, include a section with all your volunteer work. This diversifies your resume with a category besides education, experience, and skills, and shows your philanthropic side.
3) Fills in time gaps
If you’re in-between employment, you may be nervous about the time gaps in your resume. Volunteering in your free time to a relevant cause will demonstrate to future employers that you stayed active while searching for your next steps. It’ll also show you take initiative and create your own opportunities, a very beneficial trait to have in the workplace.
4) Teaches you new skills
There are volunteer positions out there for almost every industry you may be interested in. If you’re looking to improve or gain a skill with no past experience, and you’re not financially able to pay for a certification or degree, volunteering your time to a worthy cause may be the answer. This can put you on track for a new opportunity, and diversify the skills section of your resume, especially if your past positions are not relevant to what you want to move into.
For example, interested in learning more about social media marketing? There are small nonprofits out there that could use your help in creating and managing their Instagram accounts!
5) Helps you stand out
Having volunteer experience on your resume shows you’re a well-rounded person and gives insight to the hiring manager what causes you’re passionate about. You’re more than just your professional experience, and volunteer work shows that. What company wouldn’t want to hire someone who motivates themselves to give back?
So if you’re making a career change, or just need something to strengthen your resume, consider volunteering! It will not only make an impact in your community but in your professional life as well. Benefit your job search and others at the same time!
Erin Ford is an internship manager and part-time career agent from New Jersey. Her true passion is to help college students approach their internship and career journeys with confidence, and share the knowledge she's gained during her professional life.