Career planning from a resume – volunteer experience

Students can consider volunteering in the career planning process.

Does volunteering, community service or service learning come to your mind as you think about career planning? As students plan for a career, they will notice that some resumes have a section for volunteering. For students in high school, it can be a challenge finding jobs at a younger age. Volunteering can help make up for the lack of work experience.

First, how can volunteer experience be used on a resume? Kara Page of states that volunteer experience should be included in the “Work Experience” section of a person’s resume, if the volunteer experience matches the type of work someone will do in their new job. Page also states that if a person has some work experience they can create a separate “Volunteer Experience” section.

To begin the process of matching volunteer opportunities with a job or career a student can ask him or herself, “What are my career interests?” As students begin to answer the questions on their career interests, the next question to ask is, “Are there volunteer opportunities related to my career interests?”

If there are a lack of volunteer opportunities available relating to career interests, students can still seek general volunteer opportunities not related to their career interests. They can seek volunteer opportunities in places like non-profit organizations, schools, hospitals, health care facilities and advocacy groups.

Volunteering can be beneficial on someone’s resume. Kara Montermoso of states in an article written by Kim Isaacs on, that volunteer work shows an employer that a person is willing to try new experiences, be involved in his or her community and generally demonstrates a willingness to take initiative and make things happen.

 Michigan State University Extension suggests that students think about the following questions for career planning and volunteering.

  •  What type of experience in volunteering and community service will make your resume stand out?
  • As a student, what do you want to portray to future employers from your volunteer experience?

There are organizations like Michigan 4-H Youth Development where students can join a 4-H Club and take part in community service activities. Michigan 4-H has information on resumes, career and workforce preparation, community service, leadership and civic engagement. Take advantage of the resources offered through Michigan 4-H for successful career preparation.

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