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Does Volunteer Work Belong on My Resumé?

by Jaime Gerhart, Director Community Service & Advocacy Center for Faith & Justice Feb 21, 2022

A student may ask if they should take the time to share their volunteer experiences on their resumé or even if volunteer work could help in their future career search…and the answer is a resounding YES!

First, we’ll touch briefly on why volunteering can support students future career goals and then tackle the skillsets students could possibly gain and share on their resumé.

Some students may have limited experience putting their academics into action or have had less exposure to a work environment; volunteering allows them to explore both.

Questions students should ask themselves are:

  • Do you thrive working alone or part of team?
  • Do you like to be in the thick of the action or doing behind the scenes work with planning and coordination?
  • Do you feel comfortable in a large or small organization?

Volunteering allows you to start answering those questions by letting you experience different organizations, and providing a greater awareness of where and how you best work.

Not sure you’re ready for the work world? Volunteer! Nothing can give a person more confidence then helping a child get their homework completed, feeding a hundred people in a shelter, planning a successful 5k fundraiser, or spending spring break to help build a home. These opportunities allow you to expand your world view and network with people that can support your goals. They also help present you as a more impressive and well-rounded candidate for a position. Your experience through service can help you standout by sharing a diverse skill set and offering memorable conversations with a hiring team.

Also, volunteering gives you an opportunity to develop and strengthen your skillset. Volunteering allows you to try something new. It helps students to overcome challenges and flex different skills muscles. In addition, it can help students experience high levels of autonomy or intensive teamwork in the pursuit of a goal. Volunteering also grants students to go beyond an entry level role by giving them the opportunity to use their strongest skillsets to help an organization progress.

For example, at DeSales students can be part of our committee for Special Olympics.

This allows students to:

  • Fundraise thousands of dollars
  • Manage said funds in the budget
  • Develop a recruitment plan for hundreds of volunteers
  • Plan and present volunteer training sessions
  • Create and implement a logistic plan to move over a thousand athletes and families across campus to various venues
  • Form a communication plan to ensure all participants are well aware of the itinerary and information for a successful day
  • Lead a competitive event for the day managing volunteers, athletes, coaches, and referees
  • Organize an Olympic Village providing fun and activities that are appropriate and respectful to athletes with various abilities.

This listing of accomplishments are a brief overview of possible skills a student can gain by being part of just one service initiative.

As seen above, volunteering allows a student to develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Most service work connects people with people, and has far-reaching goals beyond a student’s time volunteering, which forces a student to become collaborative in nature and team oriented. DeSales can feel like a small place, but by volunteering a student can open their world view and gain greater global and intercultural fluency. Those who want to succeed in the workforce must have the insights and skillsets to communicate and lead a global and diverse world, along with the ability to adapt to such a world.

Students engaged in service leadership organizations on campus hone their oral and written communication skills- presenting to first-year students, crafting emails to faculty and administrators, and forming partnerships with outside businesses and non-profits to strengthen their organization. Additionally, a student volunteer becomes comfortable using technology needed in the workplace, from making a marketing strategy using various social platforms, to developing databases, making surveys, and forming an online community to share and store information for future volunteers. And lastly, a volunteer gains a sense of professionalism and work ethic by serving their community; a tutor realizes a child is expecting them to arrive each day, or our Best Buddies and their families expect an engaging, safe and respectful event to occur each month, or Rise Against Hunger can only feed people if we raise enough money to provide the materials needed. While volunteering work may not be a paid experience, it provides an invaluable service to yourself and the community.

Anyone interested in volunteering please reach out to the Community Service and Advocacy office in Dorothy Day or email

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