By Kimberly Paulk, SHARECharlotte.com, a free, easy and local website that makes it easy to learn about and engage with our local nonprofits. This is Part I of two.
“I’m thinking of going back to work, but I’ve been at ‘home’ taking care of the kids for so long. What in the world am I going to put on my resume?”
Over the years I’ve heard this from many friends as they think about the big gaps in time that have passed since they left a traditional working role to become stay at home parents. In almost every case, it never occurred to them to include their extensive volunteer experiences. They discounted the idea because it wasn’t paid work.
If this is something you’re struggling with, I’d like to give you the same advice I gave them. Just because your role isn’t paid doesn’t mean it can’t be included on your resume or LinkedIn profile. The key is not whether you were compensated, but whether or not your volunteer experience was relevant to the position you’re now seeking.
That tie-in is easier to make when you’ve pursued skill-based volunteer work. For instance, if you’ve served on a communications committee for a local nonprofit and you’re now returning to paid work as a marketing consultant, you can create a resume that reflects the skills you used – or learned – in that role. But think about the concept of “skill-based” in a broad sense. For instance, if you’ve spent your volunteer hours helping care for animals at a local shelter and you’re now opening a pet sitting service, those are relevant skills and you can make those connections clear on your resume or LinkedIn profile.
The most direct way to include volunteer experience is to list it in chronological order along with your past work experience. Just be sure to indicate clearly that it was a volunteer role. If you had a title go ahead and use it. Otherwise something like “Community Volunteer” can work too.
We’ll share a couple of different examples next week for specific ways to show volunteer work on your resume and LinkedIn profile. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for skill based volunteer opportunities you can always check SHARE Charlotte. Here are a few to get you started: