Mom Re-Entering Workforce With Volunteer Experience on Resume

Full-time mothers work really hard! Raising children is a full-time job (with lots of overtime) and then there's all the volunteer work many moms do as their children grow older. Here's an email from a mom who's re-entering the workforce and has volunteer experience she wants to put on her resume.

Where do I Put Volunteer Experience on My Resume?

Hello,
If I have been a stay-at-home mom but wish to re-enter the job market (not necessarily in the same field as before), how do I present those years on my resume? I have significant volunteer experience I can note, but I was mainly curious about what type of heading to use for this time period.
Thank you!
Cindy

Volunteer Work Fills Employment Gap

Dear Cindy,
Full-time mom AND significant volunteer work — that’s very impressive! And now you're ready to make the big move back to the world of paid work, with a possible career change to boot.

I suggest you list that volunteer work in your Experience section to help fill your employment gap. Here's how.

  1. Create a section for listing both your paid and unpaid experience. The heading for that section should be something like Experience, History, or Work History. Don’t use a heading like Employment History or Professional Experience, which would imply you were paid for your work.
  2. Put your volunteer experience first, along with dates and name of the organization, just as you would if it had been a paid position. By the way, you don't have to state that it was a volunteer position.
  3. Write one or more achievement statements for that "job." If you have six or more statements, you could create two groups of statements, each under a different skill heading that's relevant to your job objective. Using skill headings like this is a great way to highlight your transferable skills, which is especially helpful if you decide to make a career change.
  4. List your paid pre-parenting experience next, with achievement statements under each job.

Example of Experience Section With Volunteer Work

Here's an example of one way to include volunteer work in an Experience section. For this example, I used the skill headings technique (mentioned in #3 above) for both the volunteer and paid work, which makes it a combination resume format.

EXPERIENCE

 

Volunteer Job Title, Organization, City, State, 20xx-xx

Skill Heading
  • An achievement that demonstrates you're good at this skill.
  • An achievement that demonstrates you're good at this skill.
  • An achievement that demonstrates you're good at this skill.
Skill Heading
  • An achievement that demonstrates you're good at this skill.
  • An achievement that demonstrates you're good at this skill.
  • An achievement that demonstrates you're good at this skill.

Paid Job Title, Company, City, State, 20xx-xx

Skill Heading
  • An achievement that demonstrates you're good at this skill.
  • An achievement that demonstrates you're good at this skill.
  • An achievement that demonstrates you're good at this skill.
Skill Heading
  • An achievement that demonstrates you're good at this skill.
  • An achievement that demonstrates you're good at this skill.
  • An achievement that demonstrates you're good at this skill.

There are a number of ways to format volunteer work in the Experience section. To see more of them, browse my Resume Examples for Re-Entering the Workforce.

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