Volunteering is not only a noble way to spend your time, but it can also have a positive impact on your career. Many employers value volunteer work on a resume as it demonstrates a commitment to community involvement and can highlight relevant skills and experience.
The purpose of this article is to provide tips and examples for writing a volunteer resume that stands out to potential employers. Whether you are a seasoned volunteer or just starting out, a thoughtfully-crafted resume can help you showcase your abilities and differentiate yourself from other candidates.
In the following sections, we will provide an overview of volunteer resume writing tips, covering everything from formatting to wording, and emphasizing the importance of tailoring your resume to the specific opportunity you are applying for. By the end of this article, you should have a better grasp of how to effectively communicate your volunteer experience to potential employers and set yourself up for success.
Volunteer Work Section
Volunteer work can be a crucial aspect of a resume, showcasing one’s interests, skills, and philanthropic values. To make the most of your volunteer experience, it’s important to categorize your work and highlight the types of opportunities you pursued.
A. Categories of Volunteer Work
Broadly, volunteer work can fall under the following six categories:
Education: Volunteering in schools, universities, or any educational institution is a popular and meaningful way to give back to the community. People with teaching, mentoring, or tutoring experience can help students with academic challenges or provide support through extracurricular activities.
Healthcare: Healthcare volunteering can involve anything from assisting medical staff in hospitals, nursing homes or other healthcare settings, to helping nonprofit organizations to raise awareness about health issues and promote prevention and care.
Environmental: Taking up environmental volunteering can help you gain experience in maintaining and protecting the environment by participating in conservation and cleanup programs or educating others about the importance of ecological responsibility.
Social Services: Volunteering in social services means providing support services to people in need, such as the homeless, the elderly, individuals with disabilities, and people facing other challenges in life. Examples include preparing and serving food, offering companionship or assistance in accessing resources and services.
Arts and Culture: Individuals with a passion for creative arts or cultural events can find volunteer opportunities in museums, art galleries or theatres, providing support in exhibition preparation, guide visitors or work as a part of event management.
Advocacy: Advocacy volunteering can involve working with nonprofit organizations to promote social, legal or political change. It could include canvassing, phone-banking, lobbying, and other forms of activism.
B. Types of Volunteer Opportunities
Within these categories, there are numerous types of volunteer opportunities available for people with diverse skills and interests. Depending on your career goals, your volunteer work could align with your professional development or provide opportunities for skill-building.
For instance, if you are looking for a career in healthcare, volunteering at a hospital or in different healthcare settings would provide hands-on experience and exposure to various medical practices. If you’re interested in event management, volunteering in arts and culture would help you build a strong network with industry professionals and gain relevant, hands-on experience.
Other types of volunteer opportunities include:
- Disaster Relief
- Fundraising and Development
- Animal Welfare
- Human Rights and Legal Aid
C. Why Volunteer Experience Matters on a Resume
Volunteer experience is a valuable addition to a resume because it shows employers that you are committed, hard-working, and interested in your community. Hiring managers recognize that volunteering requires dedication, organization, and responsibility, traits that transfer well into the workplace.
Volunteer work is also an excellent way to demonstrate transferable skills that employers value in candidates. For example, managing a restaurant fundraiser requires event coordination, marketing, communication, negotiation, and teamwork skills.
Information to Include in a Volunteer Resume
When writing a volunteer resume, it is important to include the right information to make it effective and impressive. Here are the key sections that should be included in a volunteer resume:
A. Most Important Information
The most important information in a volunteer resume should be at the top of the page and include your name and a headline that summarizes your skills and experience. This will give the recruiter an immediate sense of who you are and what you offer as a volunteer. You can also include a branding statement or a summary that highlights your strengths, skills, and passion for volunteering.
B. Contact Information
Make sure to include your contact information in your volunteer resume, including your email address, phone number, and physical address. You should also include a link to your LinkedIn profile or personal website if you have one.
C. Volunteer Experience Section
The volunteer experience section should list your past volunteer work, including details such as the name of the organization, your role or position, the duration of your service, and your responsibilities. This section should showcase your skills, achievements, and impact as a volunteer. Be sure to provide specific examples that demonstrate your skills, such as leadership, teamwork, communication, and problem-solving.
D. Volunteer Accomplishments
In addition to listing your volunteer experience, it is important to highlight your volunteer accomplishments. This section can showcase the results you achieved, such as the number of people you helped, the money you raised, or the impact you made on the community. You can also include any recognition or awards you received for your volunteer work.
Your volunteer resume should be clear, concise, and focused on your volunteer experience and accomplishments. Use keywords and phrases that match the requirements and responsibilities of the volunteer position you are applying for. By following these tips, you can create a resume that stands out and impresses recruiters with your passion and commitment to volunteering.
Resume Structure and Organization
Creating a well-organized resume is crucial in the job application process, especially for volunteer positions. It can be the deciding factor in getting an interview or not. Therefore, paying attention to the structure and organization of your resume is a must. Here are some tips that can help:
A. Choosing the Best Resume Format
When it comes to resume formats, there are typically three kinds: chronological, functional, and hybrid. The chronological format is the most common as it highlights your work experience in reverse chronological order. The functional format is an option for those with gaps in their work history or those who want to emphasize their skills and achievements. The hybrid format, on the other hand, is a mixture of both chronological and functional formats.
Depending on your experience and qualifications, choosing the best resume format is essential. Ensure that the format you choose presents your skills and experiences in the most effective manner.
B. Order of Resume Sections
The order of sections can also impact the effectiveness of your resume. The standard order is usually as follows:
- Contact information
- Objective statement or summary
- Work experience
- Awards and recognition
However, if you have extensive experience, you may opt to place your skills section above your work experience section. Nonetheless, keep in mind that the order of sections should always be logical and easy to follow.
C. Importance of Keywords
Using relevant keywords throughout your resume can help make it stand out to recruiters and hiring managers. Many organizations nowadays use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to scan resumes, and these systems usually look for specific keywords. Therefore, incorporating keywords from the job description is essential. However, avoid stuffing your resume with irrelevant keywords as this can do more harm than good.
D. Length of a Volunteer Resume
When it comes to the length of a volunteer resume, it’s best to keep it short and sweet. Typically, one to two pages will suffice. Focus on the most relevant experiences and qualifications and exclude any irrelevant information. It’s crucial to understand that recruiters and hiring managers do not have time to read long resumes. By keeping it concise, you increase the chance of your resume being read and considered.
Creating an organized and well-structured volunteer resume can significantly improve your chances of landing your desired volunteer position. By choosing the best format, maintaining a logical order of sections, using relevant keywords, and keeping it short but informative, you can create a standout application that showcases your skills and abilities.
Writing Volunteer Resume Headings and Subheadings
As a volunteer, crafting a well-written and organized resume can make all the difference in securing your next volunteer opportunity. Utilizing clear and concise headings and subheadings provides a streamlined and professional appearance to your resume. Here are some tips for writing effective headings:
A. How to Write Clear and Concise Headings
1. Keep it Simple
Your headings should be kept brief and to the point, no more than a few words. Avoid using long-winded or convoluted descriptions that may be confusing for the reader.
2. Use Keywords
Incorporating keywords relevant to the position or organization will catch the reader’s attention and make your resume stand out. Use specific terms such as “Community Volunteer” or “Nonprofit Management” for more effective results.
3. Be Consistent
Maintaining a consistent format and style throughout your headings and subheadings will create a logical flow and easy-to-follow structure for the reader. Consistency also reflects attention to detail and a professional presentation.
B. Best Practices for Writing Bullet Points
Bullet points are essential in showcasing your volunteer experience and highlighting your accomplishments. Here are some best practices for writing effective bullet points:
1. Focus on Results
Your bullet points should clearly articulate your impact and results, rather than just listing your daily responsibilities or tasks.
2. Use Quantifiable Information
Incorporating quantifiable information such as numbers or percentages demonstrates the scale of your work and further emphasizes your achievements.
3. Prioritize Recent Experience
Organizing your bullet points in reverse chronological order (most recent first) emphasizes your most relevant and current experience and ensures that the reader sees your most current skills and abilities.
C. Using Action Verbs to Describe Volunteer Experience
Action verbs help convey the level of responsibility and impact of your volunteer work. Incorporating action verbs into your descriptions can make your accomplishments stand out. Here are a few examples of effective action verbs for your volunteer experience:
By utilizing these tips and examples, you can create a professional and effective resume that highlights your volunteer experience and makes a strong impression on potential organizations or employers.
Volunteer Resume Writing Tips
When it comes to writing a volunteer resume, having a great deal of experience doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll automatically stand out to potential employers. Customizing your resume to highlight your skills, experience, and achievements that are most relevant to the volunteer position you’re applying for is crucial. Here are some important tips to consider when crafting your volunteer resume.
A. Customizing Your Volunteer Resume
One of the most important things you can do when writing your volunteer resume is to customize it for every position you apply for. This means tailoring your resume to the specific skills and experience required for each particular volunteer opportunity. To do this effectively, you should carefully read the job description and highlight the most important keywords, which you can then incorporate into your resume.
B. Highlighting Transferable Skills
Another important tip for crafting an effective volunteer resume is to focus on your transferable skills. These are skills that you’ve developed in one area that can be applied in another. For example, if you have experience in event planning or public speaking, these skills are highly transferrable to many types of volunteer work. Highlighting these skills can demonstrate to potential employers that you have a wide range of applicable experience.
C. Emphasizing Relevant Skills and Experience
When crafting your volunteer resume, it’s important to focus on your most relevant skills and experience. This means highlighting past volunteer work, professional experience, education, and certifications that directly relate to the volunteer position you’re applying for. By doing so, you can demonstrate to potential employers that you have the knowledge and experience necessary to excel in the role.
D. Including Professional Development
A volunteer resume shouldn’t just focus on past experience—it should also showcase your commitment to ongoing professional development. Including any courses, training programs, or workshops you’ve completed that are relevant to the position you’re applying for can demonstrate a willingness to learn and grow in your volunteer work.
E. Tips for Showcasing Diversity and Inclusivity
Lastly, when crafting your volunteer resume, it’s important to showcase your commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Volunteer organizations are often looking for people who can help them foster and support diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. To demonstrate your commitment to these causes, consider highlighting any relevant experience or initiatives you’ve been involved in. This could include working with marginalized communities, volunteering at organizations that promote diversity and inclusion, or even language skills that could come in handy in a multicultural setting.
A great volunteer resume should be customized, focused on transferable skills and experience, include ongoing professional development, and show a commitment to diversity and inclusivity initiatives. By taking the time to craft a strong volunteer resume, you can demonstrate to potential employers that you have the skills, experience, and passion necessary to excel in the role.
Examples of Volunteer Resumes
As a volunteer, creating a good resume can be very important to help you stand out from other candidates and showcase your skills and experience. Here are three examples of volunteer resumes including a sample resume for a college student applying for a volunteer role, an example of a resume for an experienced volunteer seeking a supervisory position, and a sample resume for transitioning professionals.
A. Sample Resume for College Student Applying for Volunteer Role
Phone: (123) 456-7890
Email: [email protected]
Highly motivated college student seeking a volunteer role to contribute to a meaningful cause and gain hands-on experience. Eager to utilize my skills in teamwork, communication, and organization to make a positive impact in the community.
Bachelor of Arts in Sociology
XYZ University, City, State
Expected Graduation: May 20XX
- Introduction to Social Services
- Community Development and Engagement
- Nonprofit Management
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills
- Excellent teamwork and collaboration abilities
- Detail-oriented and organized
- Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite
Volunteer Tutor | ABC Youth Center, City, State | 20XX – Present\
- Assist students with homework assignments and academic subjects
- Provide guidance and support to enhance learning outcomes
- Collaborate with fellow tutors and center staff to create a positive learning environment
- Member, XYZ University Volunteer Club
- Participant, Annual Citywide Community Service Day
- Volunteer, Local Food Bank
Available upon request
B. Sample Volunteer Resume for an Experienced Volunteer Seeking a Supervisory Position
Phone: (123) 456-7890
Email: [email protected]
Results-driven volunteer with 5+ years of experience seeking a supervisory role in a nonprofit organization. Committed to leading and motivating teams to achieve program goals and make a meaningful impact. Strong organizational and communication skills with a proven track record of success.
Volunteer Coordinator | XYZ Foundation, City, State | 20XX – Present
- Oversee recruitment, training, and supervision of volunteers for various programs
- Develop and implement volunteer engagement strategies to maximize participation
- Coordinate volunteer schedules and ensure smooth program operations
- Establish and maintain relationships with community partners and stakeholders
Volunteer Mentor | ABC Mentoring Program, City, State | 20XX – 20XX
- Provided guidance and support to mentees to foster personal and academic growth
- Developed and implemented tailored mentoring plans for individual mentees
- Conducted regular check-ins and monitored progress towards set goals
Bachelor of Science in Psychology
XYZ University, City, State
- Leadership and team management
- Program coordination and logistics
- Effective communication and relationship building
- Problem-solving and decision-making
- Data analysis and reporting
Available upon request
C. Sample Volunteer Resume for Transitioning Professionals
Phone: (123) 456-7890
Email: [email protected]
Results-oriented professional with a background in marketing seeking to transition into a volunteer role focused on community outreach and engagement. Passionate about making a positive impact and utilizing my skills in project management, communication, and strategic planning.
Marketing Manager | XYZ Company, City, State | 20XX – 20XX
- Developed and implemented marketing campaigns to promote brand awareness
- Managed social media platforms and analyzed campaign performance metrics
- Collaborated with cross-functional teams to execute integrated marketing initiatives
Community Outreach Volunteer | ABC Nonprofit Organization, City, State | 20XX – Present
- Conducted community needs assessments and developed outreach strategies
- Collaborated with local businesses and organizations to organize community events
- Engaged community members through educational workshops and initiatives
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
XYZ University, City, State
- Project management and strategic planning\
- Marketing and communication\
- Relationship building and community engagement\
- Data analysis and reporting\
- Proficient in Adobe Creative Suite
- Member, Local Business Networking Association
- Volunteer, Annual City Cleanup Campaign
Available upon request
Reviewing and Editing Your Volunteer Resume
As you craft your volunteer resume, it’s essential to remember that drafting and writing it is only the first step in the process. One mistake many applicants make is assuming that they can hit the “submit” button as soon as their resumes are complete. However, if you overlook errors or fail to make your content as impactful as possible, your resume may end up in the reject pile.
This section of the article will focus on the importance of proofreading, providing tips on how to edit your volunteer resume, and the common mistakes you should avoid.
A. Importance of Proofreading
Proofreading is essential in writing, whether for a job application, a blog post, or any other form of written work. It is the process of reviewing and correcting a finished document to ensure that it is error-free and polished.
One reason why proofreading is crucial for your volunteer resume is that it is the first point of contact between you and a potential organisation. A poorly written resume may give the hiring manager the impression that you are unprofessional or may not respect their time. Conversely, a well-polished resume may demonstrate to the hiring manager that you are thorough, efficient, and detail-oriented – qualities that are highly desirable in a volunteer.
B. How to Edit Your Volunteer Resume
To ensure that your volunteer resume is as polished and professional as possible, follow these tips:
- Give yourself enough time to review your resume: Create your resume early enough to allow ample time for proofreading. It’s best to take a break between composure and editing so that you’ll approach your content with fresh eyes.
- Read your resume out loud: Sometimes, our brain sees what we want to see when we read on the screen, and we may miss mistakes. Reading your content aloud helps you pick up on errors easier.
- Check grammar, spelling, and punctuation: Ensure that your grammar, spelling and punctuation are accurate, and there are no errors. You may use grammar checker tools like Grammarly to help you with this task.
- Get a second opinion from someone else: Sometimes, it can be helpful to get feedback from others to get a new perspective. A fresh set of eyes may notice errors or see things that you might have missed.
- Use keywords: Polish your content by including relevant keywords that highlight your experience, skills and knowledge.
C. Why You Should Avoid Common Mistakes
Making common errors in your volunteer resume can negatively affect your chances of landing your dream volunteer opportunity. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid:
- Spelling and grammatical errors: These errors can make a hiring manager question your attention to detail and professionalism.
- Neglecting to highlight your relevant experience: When writing about your past experiences, be sure to virtualize them to demonstrate their relevance for the role.
Cover Letter Tips for Your Volunteer Resume
As a volunteer, you may not think that a cover letter is necessary for your resume. However, including a well-written cover letter can set you apart from other applicants and demonstrate your communication and writing skills.
A. The Importance of Including a Cover Letter
A cover letter allows you to introduce yourself to potential volunteer coordinators and explain why you are interested in the organization and position. It also provides an opportunity to highlight any relevant skills or experiences that may not be immediately apparent on your resume. A personalized cover letter shows that you are invested in the volunteer opportunity and have taken the time to research the organization and its mission.
B. Best Practices for Writing an Attention-Grabbing Cover Letter
When writing a cover letter for a volunteer position, it is important to keep in mind that the goal is not to simply rehash what is already on your resume, but rather to showcase your writing skills and enthusiasm for the opportunity. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:
- Address the cover letter to a specific person, if possible.
- Use a professional and concise format, and avoid using overly casual language.
- Customize the letter for each specific role and organization.
- Highlight your relevant skills and experiences, particularly those that align with the organization’s mission.
- Show your enthusiasm and passion for the role and the organization.
C. Cover Letter Example
Dear [Volunteer Coordinator’s Name],
As a longtime supporter of [Organization’s Name], I was thrilled to see the recent opening for a volunteer position as [Role Name] posted on your website. I have long admired the work that your organization does, particularly in the area of [Insert Organization’s Mission or Recent Accomplishment], and I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to your efforts.
After reviewing the requirements for the [Role Name] position, I believe that my background and skills make me an excellent fit for the role. As a recent graduate with a degree in [Related Field], I have gained experience in [Skill or Experience Relevant to Role or Organization]. Additionally, I have volunteered with [Related Field or Organization] over the past [Time Frame], where I have honed my [Skill or Experience Relevant to Role or Organization].
What sets me apart from other applicants, however, is my passion for [Organization’s Mission or Related Cause]. I have long been dedicated to [Specific Aspect of Organization’s Mission], and I have actively sought out opportunities to contribute to the cause. In my previous volunteer roles, I have [Specific Experience or Accomplishment], and I am eager to continue working towards [Specific Goal or Aspect of Organization’s Mission].
I would be honored to join the [Organization’s Name] team as a volunteer in the [Role Name] position.
Submitting Your Volunteer Resume
Volunteering is an excellent way to gain experience, build connections, and give back to your community. When submitting a volunteer resume, it is essential to follow these best practices to increase your chances of being accepted.
A. Reviewing the Job Description
Before submitting your volunteer resume, review the job description carefully. Make sure you understand the organization’s mission, the role’s duties and requirements, and the expectations for the volunteer position.
If possible, tailor your volunteer resume to the specific job description. Highlight your relevant skills, experiences, and achievements that align with the organization’s needs. This will help demonstrate your value and increase your chances of being selected for an interview.
B. Following Up After Submitting Your Volunteer Resume
After submitting your volunteer resume, it’s essential to follow up with the organization. Send a thank-you email within a few days of submitting your application, expressing your gratitude for considering you for the position. This will show that you are serious about the role and interested in the organization.
If you don’t hear back after a week or two, send a polite follow-up email or call to inquire about the status of your application. This will demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment to the position.
C. Understanding Application Procedures
Each organization will have its unique application procedures. Some may require an online application form, while others may request a paper application or email submission. Follow the instructions carefully and ensure that you provide all of the necessary information.
Some volunteer positions may require a background check or reference checks. Make sure to submit any required documents promptly to expedite the application process.
Submitting a volunteer resume requires researching the organization, tailoring your resume to the role, following up after your submission, and understanding the application procedures. Following these tips will help you stand out to the organization and increase your chances of being selected for the volunteer position.
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