Turn Volunteer Gigs into Entry-Level Job Skills

By Roberto Angulo

Employers looking for entry-level candidates often want to see some kind of experience on your résumé. Volunteer work counts as experience. The only difference is that you aren’t paid for this work — but it’s still work. It also shows that you’re a caring and involved individual who takes an active role in the community.

Here are some examples of volunteer activities:

  • Teaching Sunday school: If you go to church and volunteer at Sunday school, this is a notable activity to highlight. It shows that you can mentor others. It also conveys your commitment to get up every Sunday morning to show up for class while your friends may be sleeping in. And it implies that you have patience, because this is a required trait when working with a group of kids.
  • Tutoring others: Do you volunteer to tutor students in math, science, or another subject? This shows you have mastery of a field and are able to share your knowledge with others.
  • Mentoring kids: If you’re part of an organization like the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts and mentor younger scouts, list this as relevant experience on your résumé. These activities are often associated with developing leadership skills. Another good example is volunteering with Boys & Girls Clubs and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
  • Technical support volunteer: Do you maintain the website or related technology for a school or nonprofit group? This is also relevant experience you can highlight, no matter how easy the work may seem to you. It shows that you know technology and that you’re interested in applying it to good causes.
  • Fundraising: Have you ever participated in a fundraising event such as Run for Life or an auction for a school? These activities are worth mentioning, especially if you were involved in raising large amounts of funds or if you helped mobilize people for a cause. If you can fundraise, it means you’re organized, you’re able to motivate people, and you’re driven by goals.