Many job candidates underestimate the value of mentioning volunteer work on their resume. Candidates who use their professional skills to benefit nonprofit organizations for free have an edge over the competition. Because volunteering makes candidates better communicators, builds character, and provides other benefits, you want to list volunteer work on your resume.

Stand Out From the Competition

Listing volunteer work makes your resume stand out. Hiring managers believe volunteering builds character, communication and leadership skills. And, it shows you are proactive in finding ways to remain productive away from the office. Additionally, volunteering shows you are driven by impact more than money. Plus, it may compensate for lack of work experience directly related to the role.

Show Professional Development

Including volunteer work on your resume shows you take professional development seriously. Ensure you point out how your responsibilities are tied to your career, what your greatest achievements are, and the biggest lessons you learned. Even if there is no direct tie-in, you can mention what you have learned about organizing your work, meeting deadlines, or volunteering with others from various cultures. Also, include the impact you had on the organization. For instance, “secured five old sponsors for the charity marathon.” You can discuss during an interview what personal traits helped you achieve that goal.

Demonstrate Community Participation

Participating in volunteer work shows you are an engaged member of the community. You enhance the lives of others by helping them achieve greater well-being. You also give back to society for all the benefits you have received. Additionally, you gain satisfaction knowing you helped others who are unable to return the favor.

Provide References

Asking your volunteer-work supervisor to act as a professional reference diversifies your list. The hiring manager can contact your supervisor to verify your responsibilities and accomplishments. You gain credibility in showing that you possess the skills and experience you say you do. Plus, event planning, fundraising, and other duties can provide transferable skills to help secure paid employment.

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