How To Include Volunteer Work & Travels In Your Resume

Are you getting ready to be employed again after taking a gap year? Do you think that adding your volunteer work and travels to your resume will give you an advantage to land at a job you like? Related: How To Write A Resume That Helps You Land Your First Job You're right.

Details To Include

Adding these details can help you get the job that you like if you know how to present them in your resume. Read on if you want to know how.

1. Volunteer Work

Even if volunteering is an unpaid job, it's still a productive activity that taught you skills. Employers are interested in these things because it gives them insight about your attitude towards work. List each volunteer work you did, especially those that had to do with education, livelihood, and working with people. Include references or names of organizations you partnered with.

2. Travels

It is important to talk about how you occupied your time during a gap year and justify your absence from the work force that's why you're including your travels in your resume. If this is the case, then you can only choose specific details to share in your resume. To help you, think what you did that involved the following: management, business, education, and skill learning. They don't have to be backed by formal lessons or certificates as these things don't really happen on your travels. You only need to present them in a formal manner.

3. Freelance Jobs

Did you work while traveling? For example, when I was on a backpacking trip in Southeast Asia, I taught English two hours a day for a month and continued writing for best essays. Include such experiences in your resume. Doing so will give the company an idea that you had been productive even while on vacation. What else? Do you have a blog or photography portfolio, perhaps? Include that, too.

How To Talk About Them In Your Resume

Now that you have sorted out the details you want to include, the next thing to do is figure out how to present them in your resume. First, create short phrases for your volunteer jobs as in a title and compose a brief description for each. For example:
Volunteer English Teacher in Japan (Nov 2013-Jan 2014) Taught basic and intermediate English to kids ages 4-10 and teens respectively
Use bullets if there are several things to say about the job, but save all the other details and your storytelling at the interview. Remember that your writing has to be brief, formal, and direct to the point. Next, choose which style to use:

1. Chronological

This is the simplest and easiest. This is specially useful if your background is consistent with the job you're applying for regardless of the type of your employment. You can also use this style if you had a short gap period and a few gigs. However, if you're including your travels in your resume, you might want to separate it from your work background, especially if you did not work or volunteer during your travels.

2. Categorized

Using categories allows you to highlight specific details instead of simply stating your background. Applicants who should use this format are those who either lack work experience or do not have the necessary formal background, but possess skills the job requires. In this case, you can create these categories:
  • Skills
  • Work Experience
  • Volunteer Jobs and Travels
You can also categorize details if you had several volunteer jobs and travel destinations, especially if each didn't last very long. This style also works if you had a long gap period, say, more than a year. Doing so will represent the activities that occupied your time well. Take note, however, that if the nature of your volunteer work and travels has nothing or little to do with the skills required for the job, you should put them under “Other Activities” or “Interests,” which go to the bottom of your resume. Knowing which style to use helps you present yourself better to the company.

What Not To Include

You can skip adding your travel if the time you spent on it wasn't significant. For example, you only traveled for less than 6 months and it was pure vacation without volunteering or doing freelance jobs. Leave this detail out. You also don't need to include details that have nothing to do with the job you're applying for. For example, you're applying as a graphic designer. You don't need to say you helped out in a farm, no matter how fun and life changing it had been. Now that you know how to write a resume that includes your volunteer work and travels, the next thing you need to do is prepare for the interview. Read our articles on how to champion your interview.

Related Posts

Where Does Volunteer Work Belong On A Resume? How To Address Temp, Part-Time & Volunteer Jobs On Your Resume 6 Ways Volunteering Can Boost Your Career   Photo Credit: Shutterstock

In our new YouTube series, "Well This Happened" it's your turn to be the career coach! What would you do if you asked a coworker when the baby was due and she responded with, "I'm not pregnant." Watch the video and cast your vote b posting a comment on Youtube. We'll select one person from the correct answers at random to win free membership to the Work It Daily program. Good luck!

SHOW MORE Show less

If you've ever wondered what a Work It Daily (WID) membership could do for you, a letter we got this week provides a powerful example...

SHOW MORE Show less

There are 3 things hiring managers are trying to initially assess about you in the job interview. This video walks you through what they are looking for and offers insights into the right information to give them. Be sure to check out our free resources mentioned in the video too. They are:

SHOW MORE Show less

Last week during my Office Hours on Youtube, a client asked about how to deal with a workplace bully. After spending many years in corporate HR, I flipped to the other side and became a career therapist. So, I've seen both sides of this situation in the workplace. In this video, I discuss why people struggle to deal with bullies and what you can do to change the situation instantly.

This week, I did something that truly scared me. I sent an email to over 120,000 Work It Daily newsletter subscribers and asked them to answer the question, "What do we do?"

SHOW MORE Show less

A market correction is going to happen. When it does, layoffs will follow. I've been in the HR and recruiting industry for over two decades and have seen three recessions of varying sizes. In the video above, I explain how to tell when a recession is coming and what that means to you and your career. While many people will skip watching this. Or, will watch it and do nothing. I hope YOU are the smart, savvy professional who sees how important it is to prepare for unexpected, unwelcomed career circumstances.

SHOW MORE Show less

In this video, you'll learn how to tell if your career is plateauing due to the Executive Blues. You'll also learn what you can do to fix the problem and get your "executive energy" back so you can keep your career on track and set goals to reach new heights of success!

Want to watch the full video tutorial by J.T.?

CLICK HERE to get access!