How to Use Volunteer Experience on a Resume

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The work you do as a volunteer may have more benefits than you realize. Volunteering for charitable organizations allows you to contribute to your community and bring comfort and hope to others, but it can also significantly help your career. If you have volunteered in the past, consider the following tips to use these experiences to your best advantage on your resume.

– Make up for a lack of other experience. People just entering the workforce, such as college graduates, sometimes face an uphill battle because of a lack of professional experience on their resumes. Volunteer work makes a great way for people in that situation to stand out from the crowd. If you don’t have many paid positions on your resume, consider emphasizing your volunteer work instead.

– Appeal to an employer’s culture. Some companies place a great deal of value on community service. When you research an employer, see how heavily they promote their own work in the community. If a business has made serving the community a key component of its brand, your volunteer work can demonstrate that you share its values.

– Focus on long-term positions. If a volunteer position primarily consists of a day spent helping out here and there, don’t expect it to carry much weight with an employer, and don’t spend too much space on it in your resume. Focus instead on volunteer work that involved long-term projects and required the use of skills that are applicable to the job you’re applying for.

– Avoid potentially polarizing positions. Mentioning that you volunteered with an organization known to hold controversial positions on political or social issues may end up backfiring on you. In most cases, employers are barred from discriminating against you because of your beliefs, but what they see on your resume may still bias them against you.

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