The Benefits Of Including Volunteer Work On Your Resume
There are several reasons why you may want to include volunteer work on a resume:
- To provide information on transferable skills when changing careers or industries
- To give context when there are gaps in your resume due to leaving the workforce for an extended period of time
- To add to a resume with limited professional experience
Volunteer work may also be beneficial for anyone applying to work in industries where such work is highly valued, such as non-profit organizations or positions in academia.
Use the following tips and examples to learn how to list volunteer work on your resume.
Be Honest About Extracurriculars
Do not exaggerate your level of volunteer, work, or extracurricular experience or the number of weekly hours that you spent engaged in such activities. The notion that you somehow volunteered at a nursing home 20 hours per week, while playing three varsity sports, taking four AP classes, and editing the school newspaper seems logistically impossible and, if it somehow was true, still sounds more unhealthy than impressive.
There is no reason to be less than 100% honest about what you did in your spare time during high school. Some students, short on activities, panic at the sight of so much blank space on their extracurriculars section that they resort to grossly embellishing or completely inventing clubs, sports, jobs, and the like. This phenomenon is seen way too often in admissions offices around the countrythe applicant from the Great Plains region who founded a spelunking club, the do-gooder who alleges to have volunteered more hours than exist in a week, and the teen who claims to fluently speak five languages but seems to have trouble remembering any of them during the interview. If you need proof that this way of operating always ends in disaster, see George Constanzas antics in just about any Seinfeld rerun.
Expose Your Student To Volunteer Opportunities
Parents wondering what they can do to put their young students in a favorable position when it comes time for college scholarship applying can volunteer as a family and expose their kids to the good that comes from helping out people in need.;This early exposure to community service is often all it takes to instill in students a spirit of volunteerism that will benefit others, impress scholarship judges, and create fine citizens who will go on to do great things in life.
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Average Hours Per Week And Average Weeks Per Year
So heres a critical piece of the puzzle. You need to document the amount of time you have spent on your volunteer activities. Most college applications ask for the time you have given to each activity and volunteer experience broken down by the average hours per week and the average weeks per year that you participated. Sometimes this may be difficult to estimate, but you need to do so. If you do this every week for your entire school year then estimate about 40 weeks per year. If it is something you do every week, each week of the year, I would say document 48 weeks, since you should account for vacations and holidays. If you participate in an activity a few times a year, then document 3 weeks per year. Dont stress over the exactness of this number. It is your best estimation.
Share Skills In An After
If youre talented at art, volunteer to run an after-school art class at the elementary school, or athletes can show kids how to play football. After-school programs are notoriously understaffed, and crucial to kids, particularly those with working parents who need supervision and healthy outlets after a day of sitting in class.
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What Do Admissions Officers Not Want To See
Many students will;do community service work for the wrong reasons – and it will;show.
Admissions officers are always on the lookout for students who volunteer just to fulfill a quota. If you talk about your experience in terms of hours instead of causes and accomplishments, this can be a red flag.
Words like required and mandatory are also red flags for admissions officers. If community service was required by your high school, even if you did productive and meaningful work, don’t describe it in a way that makes it sound like you were forced to do it. This can make admissions officers feel you had;a negative relationship with the work you accomplished and only did it because you had to.
If its obvious that you are only doing community service work so that you can list it on your application, admissions officers would prefer that you leave it out. As with any other extracurricular activity, you should only list it if its been;significant to your development.
The Honors Section Of Your College Application
There are two places to list honors or awards on your college application. You are asked to do so as a part of the Activity Section, and there is another space to do so as a separate Honors Section. In general, most honors directly related to your extracurriculars will be listed in the Activity honors section. Academic honors or one-time awards will be in the Honors Section.;
However, if you do not have enough achievements or awards to fill the Honors Section, you might include an extracurricular honor there. Also, if you achieve recognition for an activity that you only participated in once or twice, and therefore have not listed it as an extracurricular, you should list the award in the Honors section.
For example, if you took up French poetry and performed once at a spoken event where your work was recognized, you would list that in the Honors section. On the other hand, if your French poetry was an extended effort that you studied and pursued independently outside of school and your work culminated in your performance and award, it would be included in the extracurricular section.;
For more about the difference between the two honors sections, see An Updated Guide to the 2016-17 Common App Honors Section.
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They Are Important For College Applications
Extracurriculars can also be included in your college applications to show your interests and talents. Read on to learn more about the importance of extracurriculars when applying to college.
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Do Colleges Verify Information In Applications
In the adult world, it is fairly common, almost expected, for ones resume to exaggerate their past achievements. In fact, a recent study found that 85% of people lie on their resumes in one form or another. A babysitting gig can easily become experience supervising an energetic group of young associates and an office filing job demonstrated your ability to promote synergy and vertical integration for data-management systems. These examples are not lies in the sense that they are not conjured from thin air, but are rather comically souped-up versions of the truth.
Compare that to famous examples of adults who have achieved notoriety for flat-out fabrications. Frank Abagnale of Catch Me if You Can fame, managed to work in high profile professions such as physician, lawyer, and airline pilot without possessing a single credential. MITs Dean of Admissions, Marilee Jones, was exposed in 2007 of not actually having earned any of the three degrees she claimed on her resume. Amazingly, she had been at MIT for 28 years and had even been bestowed an award as their best administrator.
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How To Write About Your Extracurriculars: Aka Putting Your Twitter Skills To Use
Lets go through the Activities section of the Common App step by step.
When you click on the Activities page, youll see a brief description of whats expected in this section, and you can choose whether or not you have any activities that you would like to report.
Then press Continue.
Next, click on Activity 1.”
Youll have a drop-down menu where youll be able to choose what kind of activity youre going to talk about. Choose whatever best describes the #1 activity from the list you made previously.
In the next box, you can put the Activity Name.
You have 50 characters to fill out this section.
The main rule for this is to be as detailed as you can within the character limit.
This is because you want to save as much room as possible in the next section, where you have to describe the activity.
Lets say your activity is that you have spent the past four years playing the violin. You’re the first chair violinist in a community orchestra, you’re the soloist in your schools concert band, you won local awards for your playing, and you’ve been taking lessons for 12 years.
The bad way to phrase this would be:
The great way to phrase this would be:
Award-winning soloist/first chair violinist
If you do this, you’re making the most of your first 50 characters, and you can then use the Activity Description to elaborate on the points you have already raised in the Activity Name.
Lets move on to the Activity Description.
Volunteer With An Animal Rescue
If youre an animal lover, volunteer with your local rescue. Animal shelters are always looking for people to walk dogs, clean cages, and volunteer at adoption events, and generally the volunteer work is flexible with your schedule, so you can contribute more hours during summer break, and less during finals week!
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Your Interests Should Match Your Past Pursuits
This last topic is not an issue of dishonesty but rather sheer incongruity. Some candidates stated academic interests in terms of college and career are not at all supported by their past experience. If you claim to be passionate about political science and yet passed up the chance to take AP Government & Politics senior year in favor of a massive block of study halls, you have some splaining to do. This is not to say that the above scenario cannot represent a sincere and compelling true story. Maybe you had no interest in history until you watched the film Dunkirk this past summer, which then led you to clear out the history/politics bestseller list off of Amazon, igniting a passion that fueled your search for the nations top political science programs, and forever changed your life course. No problem. Just be sure to chronicle your unique journey in the application.
Look For Volunteer Opportunities
Even if you are in your 40s and 50s and have years of business experience, volunteer work can be highly valuable, especially if you are temporarily out of work. If a potential employer asks, What have you been doing the last eight months since you were downsized, youd like to be able to show that youve been working, even if its unpaid work.
For example, if youre an accountant who is out of work, offer to help a local school or church or animal shelter improve its bookkeeping or accounting procedures. If youre a graphic designer, offer to do free flyers, brochures or website makeovers for local small businesses or nonprofits.
These types of volunteer work examples can help plug gaps in your resume, explains career website Resume Genius. Volunteer work gives you work samples you might not have been able to generate at your old job, and it gets you testimonials from satisfied non-profits or clients.
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College Transitions Bottom Line:
Falsifying any part of your application can actually cause an applicant more harm than a mere blemish or two. Believe it or not, an admissions officer does not want to see a supernaturally well-rounded applicant who claims to have filled every waking moment with some type of extracurricular activity and even volunteered for a sleep study at a research institute just to cover those embarrassingly lazy non-waking moments. Colleges want to see a real human being capable of communicating their passions and actual life experience. Be genuine. In the world of college admissions, an honest stagehand is always a more marketable applicant than a fraudulent lead player.
Example : Jessica The Scientist
When I was 15 years old, I decided to get a part-time job to help pay for college and have some spending money. Because I was already part of my school’s Science Olympiad team and plan on majoring in microbiology, I applied to be a lab technician at a local science lab. My work primarily consisted of preparing chemicals and cleaning equipment, but after speaking to my supervisor about my interest in microbiology, I was able to begin conducting some simple experiments for the lab. This past summer I became a full-time intern at the lab and took on additional responsibilities. I asked to work with a team doing a microbiology project that studies self-assembly properties of polypeptides. During my internship, I ran different chemical tests and analyzed data results for potential use in cancer research, and I have continued that work into the school year.
Why It Stands Out
From the above paragraph, it’s clear that Jessica’spassion is science. She is a member of science clubs, she plans on majoring in biology, and she applied for a job in a science lab. Jessica took a not-too-exciting job, where she mostly cleaned lab equipment, and was able to grow it into an internship where she contributes to cancer research. That’s a pretty impressive accomplishment for a high school student. She took initiative to increase the responsibility of her part-time job and turn it into something that has a meaningful impact and gives her useful experience for her future.
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How To Record Community Service Hoursanswered
I am a Junior high school student with a 3.7 GPA and 30 ACT composite but near-zero extracurriculars. I’ve been trying to compensate with community service with JROTC and volunteer tutoring. The problem is apart from JROTC keeping track of my community service, I don’t know how to record my community service.
Do I do it myself? and how do colleges know I’m not just lying?
Earn karma by helping others:
Name Your Volunteer Position
For many, their volunteer position is a specific role they play within an organization. To create a clear picture of the value of your volunteer work, name that role on your resume. Instead of saying you volunteered for an afterschool program teaching kids, state that you were a “tutor,” to define exactly what you did.
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Should You Include Volunteer Work On Your Resume
Yes, you should include volunteer work on your resume if its relevant to the job you want or if you lack formal work experience. Listing volunteer experience on your resume is a great way to demonstrate to employers that youre hard working and involved in your community.
In fact, , one out of five hiring managers in the U.S. agreed that volunteer experience was a factor in why they hired a candidate.
Listing volunteer work is especially important if you:
- Have limited paid professional experience, like if youre still a high school or college student.
- Are transitioning careers and have volunteer experience thats relevant to your new career.
- Have a gap in your resume
- Want to highlight leadership skills that you havent yet developed through your professional career.
However, if you already have years of relevant work experience or if your volunteer work isnt related at all to the position you want, then its best to leave it off your resume.
How To Include High
No college or employer wants to read about your vacation. So its a good thing your high-adventure experiences are anything but a lazy week at the beach.
Scouting trips lasting a week or longer are memorable for more than the trips themselves. They require months of planning, training and fundraising.
The story isnt that you got to go kayaking in Alaska or hiking along the Appalachian Trail. Its about everything leading up to the trip. Its about the hurdles you overcame along the way. Its about how you came back changed forever.
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Making Extracurriculars Work In High School
Make a planner your new best friend
One of the most common pieces of advice given to high school and college students is to keep all of your dates and schedules in one place. It saves time and energy while also preventing scheduling conflicts, miscommunication, and procrastination. ;If keeping a planner is new to you, it may seem tedious at first. But after you experience the benefits of this small effort, it will start to feel more natural: ;
Find the right planner for you
Most students prefer a notebook style planner, where they can physically write things down and take them wherever they go. If this is what you do choose, try to get one that is larger in size and has a monthly calendar page at the beginning of each month. Placing all of your big and important events on this page is the best way to plan. You can save any details for the specific day/week they pertain to. You can hang a big master calendar in your room.If you are more of a technologically savvy kind of person, which is definitely not uncommon among high school students, an online planner or calendar is a great way to go. Using Gmails Calendar or using a personal iphone app can work, but make sure whatever you use is easily accessible.
Learn how to budget your time
Does this work for my family?
Can I maintain my lifestyle?
Budget your timeand your financesby taking a;free online practice test with Kaplan, the world leader in test prep.