On the lookout for a foot in the door to your first full-time job?  A position as a Volunteer is an excellent place to start! Volunteering roles give you the opportunity to gain working experience which will help to secure a permanent job later on. Often these volunteer roles can also turn into permanent positions too.

You want to ensure that your resume stands out from the rest by being both informative and entertaining to read without overwhelming the recruiter or hiring manager with irrelevant information.

How you create a resume into an interview-winning document, we will explain to you in detail below with our: How to make a Volunteer Resume Guideline

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Volunteer Resume Writing Guide

Resume Sections

1. Contact Information: Name, Address, Phone, Email.
Be sure to include alternative contact channels as well, such as your Linkedin profile or Facebook URL details. On the subject of email address, create a professional one on Gmail or use your university student email address.

2. Career Objective: View this as the introduction to your resume and include 1-3 sentences giving a broad overview of your background, the industry sectors of interest. You should be specific and state which role you are applying to.

3. Qualifications Summary: Provide accurate details about the certifications and qualifications you have completed with the institution, qualification name, and dates. Don’t forget to include the qualifications you are currently pursuing.

4. Relevant Experience: Clearly indicate your previous volunteering jobs, part-time gigs, official and unofficial vocation employment history. Use brief sentences with bullet points to list your most important daily activities under each role you have had.

5. Other Employment Experience: If you are permanently employed in a full-time position, volunteering may be a temporary or part-time venture for you once a week, a few times during the month or seasonal for instance at Christmas time. In this case, you may add your career history for the last 10 years as you would when applying for a permanent role.

6. Skills Summary/Key Skills: Incorporates keywords from the job posting and your specific skill set. This adds much-needed credibility to your resume.

7. Education/Licenses/Certifications/Relevant Coursework/Training: As you would typically have no formal working experience which requires licensing, certification and so forth you can perhaps provide courses you have done while completing your degree. Examples include computer courses, bookkeeping courses, social media mastery or any self-taught training via online course platforms like Udemy.

 

What to Highlight in a Volunteer Resume

As you will probably be busy completing your undergraduate Bachelor’s degree and may be tempted to list only your theoretical knowledge, there are a few essential details employers and recruiters need to know about you as to ensure that you are the right fit for their team. You may even be a recent High School graduate taking a volunteering gap year or a seasoned professional on a sabbatical (the glamorous term for taking an extended break from permanent employment)

Volunteering is a very dynamic field. It is difficult to identify and categorize all different types of volunteering activities but here is a list to get you started
The first aspect to highlight is the types of Volunteering you have already done:

Traditional Volunteering: Historically the most common form of volunteering where you work at a local NGO. These projects may be as short as a couple of hours or more long term up to a period of 18 months

Gap Year Volunteering: Often conducted in a foreign country or another state these gap year roles are usually taken up by recent high school graduates or university students to gain valuable career experience for a period of 12 months before joining the formal working sector

Voluntourism: A fantastic way to merge tourism and volunteering and get immersed in local cultures while at the same time giving back and making a difference in the community. Forums on platforms like Lonely Planet or The Voluntourist are great information hubs to use.

Online Volunteering: An excellent idea to assist others and make an impact, but from the comfort of your laptop at home. You can volunteer for different organizations anywhere around the world without having to leave your hometown. The opportunities are endless including article writing, blogging, coaching or being a virtual assistant. Visit websites like onlinevolunteering.org for available opportunities and guidelines.

Once you have categorized all your Volunteerships, you need to indicate the industry where these experiences were gained in for instance: Fundraising, Environmental, Youth, Elderly, Homeless, Disabled, Research, Refugees or Trustee Administration to name but a few.

Next, employers want to see your casual experience where you may have assisted at the farmers market part-time, help to organize the annual county Christmas event or being a tutor for mathematics during your high school years. The key here is information and lots of it. You need to show prospective hiring managers what you have done with your time during high school and university apart from studying (and partying).

 

Make sure to include the following details

  • The locations you are available to work in and whether you are willing to travel or relocate temporarily
  • Special skills like your activities on social media with your YouTube channel if you are applying for a marketing Volunteer role or the fact that you are familiar with Sage accounting when you seek a Volunteer role in finance
  • Written references can do wonders for your credibility so don’t forget to add them
  • Your GPA score is important as well
  • Remember to add your computer literacy, for example, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, VisualStudio, Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver MX, Flash MX, Oracle
  • Any other languages you are familiar with even if it is just a basic competency will also be of interest, especially for opportunities abroad

 

Volunteer Career Objective Examples

Some organizations receive thousands of Volunteer applications each year. Your resume needs to stand out amongst the applications. Keep your career objective concise and to the point. Add the most important information first to capture their attention while they’re quickly skimming your resume.

Start your career objective with a little detail about your personality. Then mention the degree that you are currently completing and finish off with the reason why you are interested in the advertised Volunteer role. Very important to note: you need to customize your career objective for every role you apply to by using the buzzwords listed in the job description. Your career objective should not be a one size fits all paragraph. For instance, if the job you are applying emphasizes an energetic personality or detail orientated work ethic use those phrases in your resume if you have that type of skill. The more your resume resonates with the job description of keywords, the better fit you will seem.

Perhaps add a line that showcases any outstanding qualities that will add value to the company. A hiring manager would be interested to know if you have “strong time management skills, creative problem-solving abilities and if you can ‘’think on your feet in times of crises.

 

Examples of different career objectives:

 

Example 1
Energetic student and recent Bachelor of Marketing graduate seeking a volunteering role in fundraising that will allow for learning the ins and outs of the event marketing field by applying theoretical knowledge into practice. Previous informal experience with social media channel set up and blogging has been gained during university as part of the Campus Newspaper team.

 

Example 2
Dynamic High School leaver with a keen interest in politics would appreciate the opportunity to learn and develop as a Campaign Volunteer at the county federal office Fluent in Spanish and Italian with a working knowledge of French.

 

Example 3
Adventurous Doctor close to residency completion and motivated to learn the ropes in a community-orientated healthcare clinic abroad. Fast learner and a hard worker with a special interest in community healthcare specifically focused on children from low-income communities.

 

Example 4
Motivated, creative graphic design student, seeking to apply design skills, writing skills, and social media tenure into an experience-building volunteering opportunity at the community theatre.

 

Example 5
Detail-oriented individual with strong multi-tasking abilities and Bachelor’s degree seeking a Volunteer Accountant opportunity to gain experience in financial practice while aiding a charity organization. Bringing honed skills in accounting, bookkeeping, and strong computing skills.

 

 

Job Descriptions, Responsibilities and Duties Examples

An employer would expect to see details regarding your main tasks and duties completed during previous Volunteering roles. As there are hundreds of different Volunteer options available in every industry sector imaginable, we have given a few examples below to get you started:

A Receptionist/Day Chair Volunteer may:

  • Answer phones, direct calls and take messages
  • Meet and greet guests and accompany them to appointment boardrooms
  • Answer questions about the agency and distribute application forms
  • Print activity lists every morning and distribute to relevant parties and satellite
  • Open emails and forward to correct individuals
  • Enter donor information into the database.
  • Proofread official correspondence before bulk emailing to clients

An Environmental Volunteer may:

  • Assist with revegetation projects on the farm collecting seeds and assisting in the plant nursery sowing seeds, pricking out seedlings and propagating cuttings
  • Document and code all samples onto spreadsheets
  • Monitor wildlife and bird activity by conducting animal headcounts
  • Organize accommodation and travel arrangement for visiting botanical specialists
  • Photograph plant species and add them to survey lists
  • Send weekly reports to participating research universities
  • Assist in the removal of weeds and invasive plant species
  • Keep track of research projects and activities

A Politics Volunteer may:

  • Distribute promotional campaign material to the public
  • Make phone calls to residents to explain party manifest and provide information about upcoming rallies
  • Collect signatures for the campaign by walking around in public areas
  • Submit collected data along with original documents to the volunteer coordinator every week
  • Submit questions or information requests from the public about the campaign for response by campaign manager
  • Track phone banking history, including locations, events, materials distributed, and signatures collected
  • Maintain voter database
  • Send out emails and messages on social media platforms regarding the campaign activities

An IT Volunteer may:

  • Oversee the cyber facility in the absence of the manager
  • Answer phone calls and take messages
  • Make bookings for school groups
  • Assist users with internet usage
  • Troubleshoot on networking issues
  • Do general office work
  • Open and lock-up of the center
  • Register new users and create usernames and passcodes for them

A General Office Volunteer may:

  • Answer phone inquiries, direct calls and take messages
  • Schedule travel arrangements of senior management
  • Post and receive mail, courier packages, and registered letters
  • Taking minutes during daily meetings and distribute via email to participants
  • Update and maintain databases and filing systems
  • Run office errands when needed
  • Assist in printing, photocopying, and binding of documents for presentations
  • Prepare and organize meeting rooms
  • Handle food and beverage orders and deliveries for company events

A Healthcare Volunteer may:

  • Direct patients from Emergency and Front Desks to specific medical departments
  • Accompany families to surgical waiting rooms
  • Create and distribute visitor passes
  • Answer phone and respond to inquiries at the Front Desk
  • Assist physicians with logistical tasks including restocking supplies, pulling up radiology images and preparing patient files
  • Organize emergency patients in order of priority
  • Follow up on outstanding patient accounts
  • Accompany medical personnel during hospital rounds
  • Show families into the family waiting room during patient surgeries

 

Highlight Your Accomplishments

You may be tempted to copy and paste the list of duties you performed as detailed in your Volunteer job descriptions or part-time and vocational employment duties in the accomplishment section of your Volunteer Resume. The drawback to doing this, though, is that you won’t stand out from the other applicants with similar experience.
Your goal is to think about what sets you apart, what you are most proud of, or what you accomplished in your previous roles, and communicate these through action-packed statements that are compelling.

Examples:

Flat, Simple Duty:

  • Update client database

Accomplishment Statement:

  • Update database of 5000 clients using MS Access and categorize data by client demographics

 

Quantifying Your Resume

When writing your resume, if you can answer the questions, “How often?” or “How long?” You should include those numbers. For instance:

  • How often did you engage in volunteering activities?
  • What is the average duration of your Volunteering roles?
  • What did you achieve in a typical work week?

Quantification Example 1
Was part of a team of Volunteers at the communications office for the Florida County Healthcare Association for three years during the summer holiday period. Instrumental in organizing the weekly Q&A session between management and members of the association and handled all email correspondence preceding and following these events.

Quantification Example 2
Receiving, handling and distributing aid supplies to villages Africa to help poverty-stricken communities to get food, clothing and clean water. Accompany aid doctors to outpatient clinics twice week to deliver medical supplies.

 

Volunteer Education Section Example

The education section forms an integral part of your resume. In short, just indicate What, Where and When regarding your qualifications, certifications or industry licenses obtained. The name of your qualification, institution, and date of completion is more than sufficient. Unless you are a graduate with limited working experience, there is no need to include major subjects or course curriculum topics.

Remember to mention current qualifications you are in the process of completing. Regarding courses and certifications, discretion and relevance must be considered. An art course in India does not really carry weight if you are applying for a financial accountant role at an agriculture company in the Mid-West.

Completed High School and Post School Education should be listed as follows:

Start with commencement date and completion date for diplomas, associate degrees, and bachelor degrees. For courses, you can just list the date of completion. Next comes the full name of the qualification, then the full name of the institution and then the City or abbreviated State name. List your high school diploma details similarly, but only include this when you have less than five years of working experience.

Here are some examples of a Volunteer Resume with more than five years’ experience:

2012-2013 Teaching English as Foreign Language (TEFL Certification), Teachaway Institute, Online

2016-2018 Bachelor Degree in Political Sciences, University of Ohio, OH

If you have less than five years experience, you may also add your majors, minors, GPA scores and accolades, and honors awards

2016-2018 Bachelor Degree in Business Administration, University of Ohio, OH
GPA: 3.8
Majors: Business Management, Marketing Management
Minors: Communications, Accounting, Economics
Accolades: Deans Honours List

2014 – Ridgefield High School, High School Diploma Ridgefield, NJ

2015 – Certificate in Microsoft Office, Udemy Online
 

What to Write in a Volunteer Resume Skills Section

Although the volunteering field requires specific technical skills, employers look for other skills, called soft skills. These are the main types of skills that indicate to your fit as a potential employee who will add value, has adequate knowledge, sufficient experience and will be easy to manage. Incorporate these into your summary, or profile, and your accomplishment statements.
 

Technical Skills Examples

Educational Attainment: A university degree is usually not required to become a Volunteer
Technical Aptitude: Volunteers these days need to be digitally savvy so be sure to include all the IT programs you can work with. Furthermore, any project management applications, calendar apps and collaboration apps (Slack, Asana) that you have worked with before is a plus in this environment.
 

Soft Skill Examples

  • Social Orientation
  • Team Player
  • Reliable
  • Hardworking
  • Communication
  • Independent
  • Stress Tolerance
  • Multitasking
  • Enthusiastic
  • Diplomatic
  • Accountable
  • Deadline Driven
  • Energetic
  • Collaborative
  • Cooperative
  • Willingness to learn

 

Qualifications/Certifications associated with Volunteers

High School Diploma, Associates Degree, Bachelor’s Degree. Professional qualifications like Doctor, Attorney, Teacher, Engineer.

 

Action Verbs for your Volunteer Resume

 

CollectingSchedulingAssisting
CheckingProblem SolvingImproving
OrganizingPreparingLearning
CommunicatingListeningPrioritizing
ProvidingGivingAnswering
TransportingDeliveringHelping

 

Professional information of Volunteers

Sectors: Various
Career Type: Functional, Clerical, Administrative, Professional
Person type: Worker, Helper, Assistant
Education levels: High School Diploma and upwards
Salary indication: Mostly unpaid. Sometimes monthly stipends are provided to cover expenses. Accommodation, flights, and food can also be provided as part of the volunteer contract.
Labor market: Dependent or role and industry
Organizations: Various, Unlimited

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