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You can get started by looking at volunteer resume samples to see how to structure your document and what type of information to include. The volunteer industry does have competition just like any other employment opportunity, so it would benefit you to highlight your skills and abilities. This guide will walk you through the steps of creating a resume, how to bring out your strengths and how to avoid common mistakes.
What to Include in a Volunteer Resume
Despite this fact, while looking at volunteer resume samples, you’ll notice that there are some similarities. Crafting your document becomes easier when you group items into their respective sections. You should be able to find the following sections in any resume that you look at.
• Summary Statement
• Work History
There are also two main ways in which you can format your resume depending on the information you want to highlight and your professional background.
A chronological format focuses on your previous employment or volunteer experience. If you have volunteered in the past in similar roles or positions, this format may benefit you the most.
The second type is the functional format, which focuses on skills you have that will help you complete the duties involved in the position. If the role you desire is your first volunteer experience, you might prefer this format.
It is a good idea to compare volunteer resume samples written in both formats to see how each one is structured. Be sure to look for positions that are similar to the volunteer work you’d like to do so that you can get a better idea of the information to highlight in your document.
How to Write the Volunteer Resume Summary Statement
First, look at several summary statements found in volunteer resume samples to get a feel for this section. You shouldn’t see any personal pronouns in this section, and the sentences are kept brief yet concise.
You can begin the summary statement by introducing yourself with an adjective and a title, for example, ‘dedicated community service volunteer’, ‘organized hospital volunteer’ and ‘committed church volunteer’. You can then go into your experience and skills. Use a combination of soft skills and personal characteristics that make you a prime fit for the role.
Follow the structure of volunteer resume samples, and you can start by reading the following examples of good summary statements.
Energetic hospital volunteer who embraces the standards of patient care and seeks to further develop clinical skills. Experience with both administrative duties and providing assistance to nurses and other medical staff. Exhibits excellent communication skills with patients, families and fellow hospital employees.
Highly passionate church volunteer with an impressive work ethic. Skilled in motivating others for the purposes of fundraising, charities and community outreach. Ability to raise funds for the church and rally the community to support beneficial causes.
Hard working and dependable community service volunteer with a strong record for making a difference. Experienced in providing food and meals to families in need while raising money to expand these efforts. Able to handle a variety of tasks, including heavy lifting, organization and communicating with the public.
How to Write the Volunteer Education Section
As you can see from volunteer resume samples, start with your most recent entry and work backwards. Include the name and location of the school along with the diploma, degree, certificate or license you earned. If the entry occurred within the last five years, you may also include your graduation date and GPA.
Many students look for volunteer opportunities for credits or to build up their resumes before graduation. If this is the case for you, be sure to include your anticipated graduation date in this section.
The education section is a good place to include academic degrees as well as supplemental certifications. For example, if you’re looking to volunteer in a health care setting, you might want to include CPR certification or courses you completed in first aid.
How to Write the Volunteer Work Experience Section
Here, you will include more detail about each position, explaining how each role prepared you for the current opportunity. Compare different volunteer resume samples to see how professionals format this section and discuss their experiences. It is common practice to include your dates of employment and bullet points that describe your roles and quantifiable achievements.
If you’re applying to be in a management position, you can discuss your communication skills, financial responsibilities and other leadership traits. If you’re just looking to volunteer, you can talk about the soft skills or physical requirements that are needed to complete the tasks of the position.
If you don’t have many entries to place in this section, you might want to consider creating a functional resume. If you select this approach, it may also be the case that you are switching industries and your previous experience is not related to the role you’re applying for. No matter the situation, if you opt for this format, for each job entry you will list your title, the company and location of each position (no need to include employment dates). You only need to include around three entries depending on your experience.
You can then create a more fleshed out skills section that highlights the abilities and past achievements that make you a great candidate for the role.
Action Verbs to Include in Your Volunteer Work Experience Section
How to Write the Volunteer Skills Section
When crafting this section, a good place to start is the job description. The manager will list the skills and qualifications they are looking for in a volunteer, and you should include those skills, if you have them, on your resume.
You’ll want to include a mixture of soft skills, learned abilities and your knowledge of the working environment. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
• Front Desk Support
• Patient Relations
• Superior Knowledge of Pantry Operations
• Personal Religious Commitment
You’ll see more examples when you sift through other volunteer resume samples. With the volunteer industry, you can include skills that relate directly to the work you’ll be doing as well as personal dedication to the field. For instance, if you’re applying to volunteer in a church, it is okay to include your devotion to that particular faith. Hospital volunteers often discuss their passion for patient care and helping others.
Should I Include References in my Volunteer Resume
Keeping that in mind, you can still come up with ideas for who to use as professional references. In the volunteer industry, you can use previous employers or volunteer coordinators as well as colleagues you’ve worked with in either type of setting.
Volunteer Resume Fails: Mistakes to Avoid
• Limit your information to the last 10 years whenever possible. You can make yourself stand out as a prime candidate without including your entire work history and life experiences. Look for information that directly relates to the position you desire and avoid listing any irrelevant items.
• Try to keep your resume positive. When it comes to volunteer work, discuss how you want to help the community rather than focusing on the negative aspects that you’d like to change.
• Never lie on your resume. If you are hired under false pretense, the truth will come out with damaging consequences. Even if you feel you don’t completely qualify for the position, the manager may be impressed by your skills and place you in a similar role that you are capable of handling.
Job Prospects in the Volunteer Industry
- While volunteering may not be a lifelong career for many people, it is a great way to build skills for future employment opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that most volunteer positions are available in the religious sector, educational services, community service and health care.
- If you’re looking for a career in the volunteer industry, there will be some opportunities in the social and community service management fields over the next decade. The BLS estimates that job prospects will rise by 10 percent between 2014 and 2024. With an aging population, more help is needed in social services. Job seekers will likely find the highest concentration of jobs in industries that cater to the elderly.
- Overall, data collected from the BLS states that the volunteer rate in the United States is approximately 25 percent every year. Numerous opportunities exist in local churches and community centers. Skilled individuals can also find volunteer positions within nearby hospitals and public facilities, such as libraries and schools.