How to Include Volunteer Experience on Your Résumé

Question

“I need to do community service to meet my high school requirement. Will this help me build my résumé?” – Leanne  from Burlington, VT

Answer

Community service and volunteer work are great things to add to your résumé.  This is especially true if you don’t have a lot of paid job experience.  There are a couple of different ways to use community service and volunteer work on your résumé.  How you use it depends on how much time you spent with the volunteer organizations.

Some people meet their community service requirements by spending a few hours or a few days volunteering with a lot of different places.  If you did this, you should just include a list of all the places you volunteered in a basic ‘volunteer experience’ section of your résumé. This lets you show all the places you have volunteered, but doesn’t give information on what you did there.

If you volunteered with one place for a longer period of time, you can include a more expanded volunteer section of your résumé. If you use this option, you can show how long you volunteered with the agency and what kind of work you did there.  This section looks a lot like a normal ‘work experience’ section, but lists only your unpaid work. This will show what you learned and accomplished through your community service.

And don’t forget! Community service and volunteer experience are great things to include on college admissions and scholarship applications.  For more information, check out the links below to see example résumés that use the basic and expanded ‘volunteer experience’ sections.

• Example of Basic Volunteer Experience Section
• Example of Expanded Volunteer Experience Section

Have real-word examples of how you’ve parlayed volunteer experience into a job? Share your stories in the comment section below.

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