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Clients often ask if they should include volunteer work on their resumes and in most cases, the answer is yes! A recent blog entry from LinkedIn  gives some compelling reasons to add your volunteer work to your resume,so let's take a look at them, as well as a few others.

One of the first reasons to include volunteer experience is that it is just that: experience. Did you go canvassing to raise money? Supervise a summer camp? Volunteer as a one-on-one tutor? All of these seemingly small things hone and promote the skills you need in the workforce. Planning lessons and activities, raising money or recruiting volunteers are all relevent to most jobs, and the more experience you have, the better. These are transferable and adaptive skills that you have gained.

Another reason is that volunteer work will make your resume stand out from the hundreds of others that your potential employer will review. When you include activities outside of work, you are showing commitment and dedication to a cause that you are passionate about; these are all highly desirable qualities in an employee, in any field. Any activity that shows leadership is an incredible benefit to your resume.

Clients who are working on their first resume or have had several years between jobs can use their volunteer experience to show employers their potential and drive. If you are a student who has been involved in school fundraising or after school volunteer work, these experiences form a foundation on which you can build your resume up. If you are re-entering the workforce after years of raising a family, your time on the Home and School Committee, being a Boy Scout Leader, delivering Meals on Wheels or driving blood donors to their appointments shows that you were involved in the betterment of your community, and that you are willing to put in time and effort for something you care about.

How you include this information is up to you: if the experience is directly related to the position you are applying for, make sure you highlight the duties that will showcase this. If you just want to show that you are actively involved in your community, volunteer experience can be lower on your resume. It is also important to do some research on your potential employer; if they are involved in a cause, such as the United Way,  any work you did for them will pop for your potential employer. Do your research and you might find you are a great fit with the company!