There are sections of your technical resume that are obviously necessary: your technical proficiencies, the jobs you’ve held, your education section, etc. But there are some parts that aren’t so clear. Do you include an objective? Should you include your hobbies? One section that candidates often have questions about, and one that could actually add a lot to your candidacy if done correctly, is volunteering and community service. When is it advantageous to add your volunteer and community service experience to your technical resume? When does it hurt you? How do you add it? Here are some tips from IT recruiters for deciding what you should keep—and cut—from your resume.
Keep: If you’re applying to a job with a non-profit or a company that really values community service and volunteering, then keep it all. (You can ask your technical recruiters about a company’s interest in community service if it’s not obvious.) Show off any relevant experience on your resume to build yourself up as the kind of candidate that fits well into their culture of giving back to the community.
If you’re not applying to a non-profit or company like this, you may still want to keep some of your volunteering experience. IT staffing firms sometimes come across candidates who’ve donated their technical expertise to the community or local organizations by creating web sites, blogs, or other technical projects for free. This is very relevant to your candidacy. Include it on your resume, especially if the project you worked on could be similar to the work you’d be doing in your target jobs.
Cut: As mentioned above, when you’re applying to companies that aren’t as concerned with volunteer or community service (often these are more corporate employers), then cut that section. Use the space on your resume to build up your candidacy better. Talk about your technical skills and experience. You only get to submit one resume to hiring managers and IT staffing companies. Make sure every single letter, punctuation mark, and space on that resume builds your candidacy. (If talking about your volunteering and community service interests is really important to you, you may find time to discuss it in job interviews– if it’s relevant to the discussion, of course!)
How to Add it: Create one brief, separate, section at the very bottom of your resume. Put it below your education (which will often be the last section). Format your volunteering stints as jobs. If you have information about technical experience, list it in bullets like you would under a job. Keep the language unemotional here, as you would on any other part of your resume. While you might feel passionate about your volunteer activities, keep subjective phrasing out of this section. Simply state your contributions to the organization and highlight how it might strengthen your candidacy.
If the work is especially relevant to any particular roles, you should take advantage of that. As you tailor your resume to the role (ideally candidates tailor their resume to each role their IT staffing firms submit them to), make sure your description of this volunteer experience explicitly highlights the similarities between that and the projected work for the role. Don’t be afraid to really spell it out for hiring managers. They’re skimming many, many resumes. Make yours stand out!
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AVID Technical Resources
AVID (Applications, Voice, Internet, Data) Technical Resources is a leading Information Technology recruiting company. Specializing in placing contract and permanent personnel in both Infrastructure Support and Applications Development positions, AVID has a national presence supporting clients ranging from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies. Headquartered in Boston, MA, AVID has achieved tremendous growth since the firm's inception in 2003. This has triggered numerous national awards and recognition, such as being named to Inc. 500 Magazine's list of 5,000 Fastest Growing Privately-held Companies in the US in 2010, 2011 and 2013. Additionally, the firm boasts of having more than 100 five-star reviews on Google from clients and candidates who rave about their experience and interaction with the firm's recruiters.