In today’s competitive job market, candidates need every advantage they can get.

While some job seekers might be spending their time attending every networking event possible or signing up for expensive conferences, one of the most impactful resume-builders is much simpler: volunteering. In fact, over 40 percent of hiring managers consider volunteering as valuable as paid work.

How does it impact your marketability?

Millions of people donate their time to charities, helping improve their community and connecting with others. Joining them gives you a chance to showcase your skills, passions and relatability outside of the office. This can set your resume apart from the pile of others that most recruiters read through.

  • Demonstrates soft skills. While hard skills are mostly gleaned from formal education and work, soft skills like critical thinking, teamwork, creativity and communication are products of experience. Volunteering offers the perfect opportunity to develop these skills in a professional, yet personal setting. It shows recruiters that you have a developed sense of self-motivation and the ability to work well with others, both of which are critical in today’s job market. 
  • Expands your network. People from all walks of life spend time working with charities so you never know who you’ll meet at an event. Therefore, volunteering offers a unique opportunity to connect with others who you might not have ever met otherwise. This helps expand your views as well as your network which increases your chances of connecting with new opportunities. 
  • Shows off your interests. Investing time in volunteer work helps demonstrate your areas of interest outside of work and gives your resume a personal touch. The specific organisations for which you choose to volunteer, whether it be animal shelters, food banks, or cancer research centres, can stand out to an interviewer and help you foster a personal connection outside of your CV. 

  • Provides leadership experience. Along with general soft skills, volunteering can offer an opportunity to gain important leadership experience. Short-staffed charities are often looking for self-motivated people to help out and would likely welcome your assistance. Leading volunteer teams, planning charity events, and heading new campaigns will offer invaluable experience in both management and leadership. These accomplishments can provide a great addition to your resume as management experience especially if you didn’t previously have any.
How to apply volunteering experience to your application

If it relates to your field, you can include charity work on your resume under your “Professional experience” section. List it like you would any other job with a description of your role and responsibilities. Be sure to frame your experience in a way that explains how it qualifies you for the specific position.

If your volunteering cannot be directly related to the job, you can write a separate “Volunteer work” section. Here, you should highlight any soft, transferable skills that you obtained throughout your work as well as leadership experience you might have gained. 

How to get involved in charity work

Whether you’re able to make a long-term commitment or just help out around the holidays, there are many different ways to get involved with charities. Find local volunteering opportunities, connect with community religious groups, or organise a fundraiser for your favourite charity. Whichever path you choose, you’ll surely be able to make a positive impact on your community as well as your CV. 

Any kind of exposure to different people and situations can make you a more well-rounded employee, and therefore, more appealing job applicant. Consider donating your time to local charities and support your community while also giving your job application a boost.