Tuesday, June 30, 2009

When NOT to List Volunteerism on Resume

What is the best way to identify your community/philanthropic leadership experience on your resume? This question was asked on LinkedIn. The questioner held an executive volunteer position and a full-time job at the same time. She worries that if she lists both her paid and volunteer work in her work history, it will be confusing because the two "jobs" were concurrent.

My Answer
It depends on what your job objective is. If your volunteer experience is more relevant to your objective, consider listing your volunteer experience in your work history section instead of your paid experience (without saying it was volunteer). If your paid experience is more relevant, list the paid experience in the work history section and mention your volunteer work elsewhere on your resume. In other words, list one or the other in the work history section, but not both. (Remember, you're resume is not a tell-all document. As long as everything on your resume is true, you can omit information if doing so markets you better for the job.)

One problem with listing both experiences as concurrent "occupations": it could look confusing. Here's the other problem: A potential employer will assume that you'll continue your intense volunteer work once he employs you. That means, he won't get 100% of your energy and attention. An employer may not want to share you with another organization, unless it somehow benefits him.

Sometimes it's best to keep things simple on the resume, and explain details in person at the interview. This might be one of those cases.

1 comment:

ICT said...

Study your resume carefully so that you'll be able to backup your claims to your various skills and abilities. Be logical in answering questions and apply common sense.