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    Looking for a Job? Leverage Your Volunteer Work

    Man and woman volunteer at a clothing drive.Volunteers demonstrate a variety of skills when lending their time to an organization, including the ability to communicate, make decisions, lead and consider how actions impact communities both locally and globally. If you’re currently looking for a job and have been leaving volunteer experience off of your résumé, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to showcase these important skills to future employers.

    Listing volunteer experience on your résumé can make the case to an employer that you have the skills needed to complete the job if you don’t have an extensive work history or are switching career fields.

    Employers are increasingly looking to hire individuals with a social conscience and who show a demonstrated commitment to their community. With a lot of well-qualified people competing for the same job, talking up your volunteer efforts can also help you stand out in a crowd of people who may have similar education and work histories.

    Tips for Putting Volunteer Work on Your Résumé

    If you have volunteer experience that you’re not showcasing to prospective employers, start by jotting down details about your volunteer history, including the organizations you worked with, the timeframe you worked with them, important projects you worked on and the skills you gained from the experience.

    Start to shape your list by implementing the following practices:

    • Integrate volunteer and work experience. If you’re using volunteer experience to flesh out a limited employment history, combine these sections under one header called “Experience” instead of listing them separately. Never place your volunteer experience at the end of your résumé, where it’s likely to be viewed as less important.
    • Include descriptive titles. Instead of “volunteer,” come up with a more accurate description of the work you performed. For example, if you tutored elementary school children, call yourself a “tutor.” If you coordinated a food drive, list your title as a “project coordinator.”
    • Talk about results, not just responsibilities. Employers want to know more than the literal tasks that were assigned to you during your time as a volunteer – they want to know how you performed at those duties. Provide concrete examples and numbers that illustrate your ability to excel and achieve results.
    • Incorporate volunteer work in your online profiles. LinkedIn, the Internet’s largest professional network, recently added new volunteer fields to its profile options, giving job seekers the chance to add volunteer positions, causes they care about and organizations they support. A large number of employers are using the site to find and screen job candidates, so make sure you have a profile and that it accurately reflects your abilities.

    Don’t forget — when talking up your volunteer experience, traditional résumé rules still apply! Check out Goodwill’s top ten tips to write a résumé at any age for more advice on preparing a professional document that will help you get your foot in the door at a company.

    Looking to build your volunteer experience? Search Goodwill volunteer opportunities online or visit VolunteerMatch to view all positions in your area.

    Jenni B. Baker
    Jenni B. Baker was a member of Goodwill Industries International’s digital team from 2009-2016. In her role, she supported content strategy and development for Goodwill’s digital properties, including Goodwill’s public blog and email newsletters.
    Read More Posts By This Author

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    • Gladys Suarez
      October 31st, 2011 at 8:44 am

      I am a strong woman who made many of mistakes in my life because of my disability nobody was able to figure me out but myself. Now I would love to help with the skills i learned on my own without school. i help disabled people all around me realize they have a problem and once the problem is acknowledged i work with there disability and show them there are choices but there is a way to learn i learned by observing and hearing i have been threw many programs that have never helped but failed me but psychology is what i have learned myself without going to school but i would love to have help getting a job and helping i would really like to make a big difference i just wish someone could give me the oppurtunity to use my experiences

      • charlie
        February 5th, 2013 at 10:40 am


    • diana
      November 30th, 2011 at 9:52 am

      what age do you have to be to start working here?

    • maryssa ellen
      February 27th, 2012 at 7:11 am

      hi i am looking for a part time job and i am still in highschool 8-12 and i took a break for a little bit because of some family issues and i thought this would be a good job for me i am a hard worker i love to be around people

    • suzi
      March 18th, 2012 at 11:56 pm

      hi my name is suzi. my grandmother just recently passed away we are struggling. i am looking for a part time job, yes i am still in school, im a jr. i go to school from 7am to 2pm. if u have any openings can u please contact me. anytime after 2pm i am available. thank u so very much for taking the time to read this..

    • Matthew Rosebrook
      May 30th, 2012 at 9:08 pm

      I was wondering if either at age fourteen I could get a job at my local Goodwill, or volunteer..Do you know if at age 14 in Ohio you can get a job. I’m a very social individual and am always wanting to help people!

    • carolanne
      July 10th, 2012 at 2:39 pm

      Im 14 and my brother is 16 and we love helping children, and i was wondering if there was any way we could work here?

    • Carolanne and Gage
      July 10th, 2012 at 2:42 pm

      Hello, my name is Carolanne and I am Fourteen and my brother is sixteen and we were wondering if there was any way we could work her. We helping kids.

    • george
      July 21st, 2012 at 10:55 am

      Hi,me and a group of friends are starting a club and we are going to different places and volentering so we would like to know if we could help out at one of the stores!

    • Sabrina
      August 2nd, 2012 at 9:54 am

      Hi my name is Sabrina & live in Hobart In. I am now in a program through my state TANF. My next step is to do volunteer work @ the local Goodwill in town. My question is, would it be limited to only do the work at the store directly? Would I be assistanting by hanging cloths, taging, rearranging etc etc or would I be in the back sorting things 100% of the time? I am full of energy & love to enteract with people! I love helping when ever needed but don’t want to just be stuck in a warehouse if I am not going to be around other people as I am a huge people person & do better working with people then being alone working. :)

    • leandra hernandez
      September 18th, 2012 at 9:44 pm

      i am trying to fill out an application on line to volunteer 22 hrs a month for the jobs program

    • eden
      October 2nd, 2012 at 9:41 pm

      i am 10 and i would love to volunteer. is there an age limit to goodwill?

    • Katrina Parker
      October 15th, 2012 at 11:53 am

      Hello. I am a 43-year-old media/public relations professional with a special set of bargain/thrift/resale shopping skills. For 25 years or so, I have built an impressive wardrobe for my professional and personal needs, and have created affordable, stylish fashion options for my teenage-daughters as well as many of my friends and colleagues.

      I’d like to share this skill with Goodwill customers as an on-site personal shopper. Additionally, I’d like to coordinate group shopping visits with teens entering the workforce and adults who are returning to it.

      Some see shopping as a chore; but, for me, it is my passion! Can you point me in the right direction as to whom I should contact at Goodwill to begin the conversation about this service?

      Your assistance is deeply appreciated.


    • Ceilya
      November 26th, 2012 at 3:04 pm

      What forms do I have to fill out inorder to volunteer?

    • Gracie
      December 11th, 2012 at 6:41 pm

      Hi i am around 12 yrs ld and i am looking for a place to spend my free time and this is at the top of the list and i have experience volunteering.Will i be eligable?

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