Do you need a resume to do volunteer work? In some cases, the answer is yes! Some organizations prioritize candidates with specific hard skills, whereas others just treat the application process as an opportunity to learn more about the volunteers. Further, while many volunteering positions don’t offer pay, they may offer perks such as housing, a monthly stipend, even payment towards college expenses. These often get awarded by merit too.
Since many volunteers seek our such work as an opportunity to develop marketable skills for future, paying positions, the competition can get a bit heated. Hence, to get a better chance of getting the gig you want, work on your resume. Here are the tips for that, followed by an amazing volunteer resume sample.
Remember: Job Application is Not a Formality
Never assume that a volunteer position is open to anyone who applies. Most of these jobs involve a formal hiring process, and you must meet the desired qualifications to get called in for an interview.
Put as much effort into your application packet for this as you would any paying job. This includes submitting a well-formatted resume, writing a cover letter, and following all other application instructions to a tee.
List Other Volunteer Jobs as Work Experience
You may have an advantage if you’ve done volunteer work in the past. This gives you a unique perspective and often an understanding of non-profit work. So bring up all your earlier gigs.
Put volunteer experience on your resume just as you would any other type of employment. List start and end date, your duties, responsibilities, and accomplishments. Doing so shows that you take volunteer work seriously. You can also help fill in employment gaps with the volunteer work you have done.
Emphasize a Desire to Serve
There is nothing wrong with accepting a paid position because you’d like to earn money and eventually advance in your career. Likewise, there’s nothing wrong with seeking work as a volunteer as a way to develop marketable skills, make important professional connections, or enjoy available perks. Especially, if you are early in your career path. However, you should never make these things the focal point of your resume.
Instead, center your narrative on your desire to serve the community, drive measurable change, and support other members of the non-profit in their line of work. On top, consider what other hard and soft skills you can bring to the table. Focus on highlighting abilities that you can use to support the charity’s mission.
For example, if you plan to work in a free legal clinic, you may want to highlight your interpersonal skills, paralegal experience, and knowledge of other languages.
Quantify Your Achievements
When you quantify the things you have accomplished, you provide very important context. This makes your claims much more believable and gives you extra credibility.
Compare these two statements:
- “Encouraged nursing home residents to take part in social activities.”
- “Created an outreach program that led to a 20% increase in social activities among nursing home residents.”
The first option is not bad, but it’s a bit bland. Every other applicant will write something similar. The second option, however, sounds more tangible and authoritative. It makes it easier for the decision-maker to picture your impact.
Volunteer Resume Sample (Word version)
Here is an example of a resume for someone applying for a long-term volunteer position.
Volunteer Resume Example (text version)
Experienced horticulturist and recent graduate seek long-term volunteer opportunity with organizations working in the areas of habitat management, permaculture, urban horticulture and ecology, extension program management, and ecological restoration.
- Native plant species focused landscaping
- Invasive species eradication
- Licensed chemical applicator
- Experienced community educator
- Grant writing
- Field research
- Community garden management
- Watershed restorations
Assistant Greenhouse Manager
Native Nurseries of Southern Florida
July 2018 — Present
- Caring for a variety of trees, shrubs, vines, and plants.
- Providing customer service and education.
- Working with vendors to ensure proper delivery of products.
- Assisted in the production of community education videos that resulted in a 65% increase in subscribers to the company’s YouTube channel.
- Participated in community events educating the public about the importance of native plants and restoration-focused landscaping.
Arkansas Department of Natural Resources
August 2019 – May 2020
- Construction and maintenance of trails, education centers,
- Visitor tours and education.
- Observing park areas for unsafe conditions.
- Oversaw the restoration of more than 100 acres of parkland.
- Assisting park hostess and maintenance staff.
- Reporting conservation violations to proper authorities.
Arkansas State University — January 2021
BA: Horticultural Studies And Restoration Management
Emphasis: Horticulture as a community service and urban farming program development.
Awards: Ecology and Plant Sciences Club — President
Student Community Service Association — Silver Medal Recipient
Green Forest Technical High School — May 2017
High School Diploma/Certificate of Proficiency
Emphasis: Completed a four year high school curriculum along with a two year program in Forestry Technology
Hobbies And Interests:
- Permaculture Design
- Camping And Hiking
Final Thoughts: Use The Hobbies And Interests Section
The best volunteers are well-rounded people who have a deep interest in the field they are pursuing. Thus, it is often a good idea to include a hobbies and interests section on your resume. There, you can highlight activities you enjoy that are particularly relevant to the position you are seeking. Just be sure to keep the focus on items that either highlight desirable skills or show that you have an ongoing passion for the work you will be doing.