Hiring Managers Will Never See a Résumé Gap When You Fill It With Volunteer Experience

Written By Arlene O’Reilly

Life doesn’t stop when a job ends. And neither should the work experience on your résumé come to a dead stop. When you volunteer, you keep creating a work history – a new story hiring managers want to hear.

Volunteer and build a bridge to your next paid position

Before you get the job offer, you’ve got to reach certain milestones along the way. Volunteering is a bridge to those milestones. One of the first hurdles is to get a hiring manager to actually read your résumé. Your accounts about volunteering will grab attention.

“As an employer, I’ve skimmed hundreds of CVs (résumés), and what often makes me stop and read a bit closer is the ‘volunteering’ section,” says Tatiana Rehmova at Enhancv.

Photo of Zoom meeting by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Volunteering also gives you a leg up in landing a position.

In a Deloitte survey, 82 percent of hiring managers reported they would be more likely to choose a candidate with volunteer experience. And 85 percent also said they would overlook résumé flaws when the candidate has a track record of volunteering.

Despite employers’ enthusiasm for hiring volunteers, Rehmova says, “Lots of people volunteer, but not everyone thinks it’s worth mentioning on their CV (résumé).”

In a LinkedIn survey of U.S. professionals, 89 percent said they had volunteered in the past. But only 45 percent record that on their résumés. It’s a wasted an opportunity if you don’t include it.

Go the extra mile to stand apart from others. Write up your volunteer experience on your résumé.

Volunteer and keep up your spirits

Additionally, for job seekers the gratification of giving to others can make the search less frustrating and disheartening.

“Many people find volunteer work to be helpful with respect to stress reduction,” says Rodlescia Sneed, author of a study on volunteering at Carnegie Mellon University.

People who volunteer get happier and healthier over time versus those who don’t, according to an 18-year-long study in the United Kingdom.

Volunteering is more than a proven strategy to get through your job search. While helping those you serve, you also directly see positive results in your personal life and career.

Volunteer opportunities

Consider choosing to contribute to any of the Professional Service Group of Central New Jersey (PSGCNJ) operating committees – from Marketing, Fundraising, Finance and Membership, Training, to Project Management. You can practice the skills you already have. Or take a look at an area you want to learn more about.

Right now, members who act as meeting hosts and co-hosts are honing their online public speaking skills through our weekly Zoom meetings.

In my experience with PSGCNJ, while serving on the Marketing Committee, I spoke at weekly meetings and oversaw the Mailchimp email account. And now both public speaking and email are cornerstones of my marketing consulting business – thanks to what I learned as a volunteer.

PSGCNJ is a safe, low-risk environment where you can meet new people and keep your skills sharp. As well as reap the immense rewards of volunteering.

Arlene O’Reilly provides marketing training and consulting for freelancers in marketing services (copywriters, graphic designers, social media strategists, etc.) to find freedom and reliable revenue. With her program, Real Clear Marketing, they identify and choose a target (aka niche), and do the work they love with their ideal clients.