5 Useful Tips for Adding Unpaid Work to Your Resume

The path towards building professional skills can involve more than possessing a paid job.  Employers value individuals able to demonstrate relevant experience and skills to accomplish the job regardless of whether you were paid for your time. 


Here are 5 tips to add your community service to a resume


1. Task vs Skills

Employers want to know the task performed on a job AND the specific skills learned as a result.  Skills are characteristics that can apply to any job while tasks are responsibilities associated with a specific job.



Library Aide


Sort and Organize books and magazines

Skills Learned:

  • Light Data-entry (scan and catalog items) using the Virtua Catalog System

  • Possess the ability to quickly alphabetize large volume of print materials

  • Able to work independently with minimal supervision


2. Show Impact

It is important to convey how your work impacts a larger goal. This may require asking a few questions about the tasks you are performing or understanding the purpose of the project, department or organization where you have been working.  At first glance, your contributions may appear small.

After all. how does making copies or answering phones make a difference?  However, making copies may contribute to an afterschool program being able to provide enough math worksheets for 50 children each day in an Afterschool program; and answering 25-50 calls a day would allow a department to maintain a quality customer service; and demonstrate your ability to work in a fast paced enviornment.


3. Internships Illustrate Future Career Goals

Internships are a fantastic way to gather formal experience and learn about specific industries and positions. Different from community service, internships are strictly about personal/professional growth rather than solely helping others.  

Including an internship on your resume signals to employers your serious intent to learn about your chosen field and willingness to get better at what you want to do within your career.


4. List Related Classes or Projects

If you are short on work or internship experience, adding relevant classes or projects is a good way to demonstrate any skills acquired or familiarity you possess about a specific industry or job.

Be sure to include information about the purpose of the class or project; and any outcomes or goals you were expected to achieve at the conclusion. Also, include if you assumed any formal leadership role such as Teaching Assistant or Project Leader.


5. Hobbies, Clubs or Sporting Activities Show Dedication

In some instances, adding your participation or membership in a club, sporting or academic team; or engaging in a hobby may help demonstrate a specific skill or characteristic useful to the position. Include any leadership or specific responsibility you are charged with, such as Team Captain or Club Organizer.



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