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How to List Volunteer Experience on a Resume

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Some job seekers may shy away from including volunteer experience on their resumes, thinking it's not significant or noteworthy enough. But in an economy where full-time employment is more difficult to come by, employers recognize that job seekers have had to fill their time with unpaid work, according to an article in Fortune. If you've done long-term volunteer work that relates to your career or has provided you with valuable skills, add it to one of several possible sections of your resume.

Chronological Resumes

If your resume follows the more traditional, chronological format, create an "Activities," "Organizations" or "Community Involvement" section, somewhere following your Work Experience and Education sections. Then list the volunteer work you've done -- leaving out anything that you've done just once or twice or on a sporadic basis. Name the organization, the dates of involvement and the duties you held, as you would any other job.

Skills-Based Resumes

With a skills-based resume, create headings that detail your strongest skills, such as "communication skills" and "leadership," for example. Under each heading, list activities that illustrate those skills -- including activities you've done during volunteer as well as work experiences. To keep things honest, mention when one of your strengths or skills was gleaned from volunteer experience. For example, under a "leadership" heading, you might say "Organized a group of 15 people in a year-long job training session at Volunteers of America." That way, an employer can ask questions about that volunteer experience if they so desire.


Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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