How to Highlight Your Girl Scout Experience on Your Resume: Volunteer Edition
Girl Scout volunteers do amazing things every single day. From working directly with girls to helping the council facilitate a successful Girl Scout Cookie Program, we want to make sure you’re rewarded for what you do!
And volunteer appreciation isn’t the only way to reap additional benefits from your position with Girl Scouts. Employers are interested in your volunteer experience, too! Including your Girl Scout experience on your resume could help you stand out enough to land you your dream job. So, how do you get started?
Include a Volunteer Experience section on your resume and LinkedIn profile.
First, start with your LinkedIn profile. Because you’ve got virtually endless space, LinkedIn is a great place to gather everything you want to showcase to potential employers. To do this, go to your LinkedIn profile and click on Add new profile section > Volunteer Experience.
Once you’ve got all of your volunteer positions laid out on LinkedIn, we need to find a good spot for it on your resume. If your main experience section is labeled as “Work Experience,” it could be misleading or confusing to include volunteer experience there. However, there are two easy options to fix this!
If you’ve got a lot of volunteer experience that is worthy of your resume (which is amazing!), see if you can find room for a Volunteer Experience section, separate from your Work Experience section. List your volunteer positions just like you do your current and former jobs! Our Human Resources department loves to see volunteer experience from job candidates (and not just because we’re a non-profit!), so having an entire section devoted to it is sure to grab attention.
If you only have one volunteer position, or all but one are relevant to the job you’re applying for, consider renaming the main section of your resume to “Experience.” That way, you can easily combine Volunteer and Work Experience sections into one.
Keep in mind that your resume should be a single page of the most relevant experience possible. So, if you’ve got too much information for one page, cut whatever is the least relevant to the job you’re applying for. However, anything you cut should still be included on your LinkedIn profile under Volunteer Experience.
Tailor the position(s) to the job you’re applying for.
Next, as you’re writing the descriptions for your volunteer positions, keep in mind the type of jobs you’re applying for and pick out the duties and accomplishments that are most relevant.
For example, if you’re applying to be a first-grade teacher, the school will want to know that as a troop leader, you have experience working with young girls, creating projects for them to work on, and facilitating learning discussions afterward. However, these might not be as relevant if you’re applying for a job in computer science.
If you’re applying for a job at a financial firm, they’ll want to know all of the money management you did as your troop cookie manager! And while they might not necessarily be interested in the fact that you picked up and distributed all of the cookies for your troop, they will be interested to know that you organized a large-scale, multi-month project and didn’t have any misplaced orders. It’s all about how you frame it!
Remember all of the behind-the-scenes logistics.
Sometimes, we get so lost in our processes that we forget to take a step back and think about how impressive we are. For example, service unit cookie coordinators handle and manage a huge budget every year! That’s the type of thing employers want to hear about.
Don’t forget about some of the behind-the-scenes logistics you’re doing as part of your volunteer position. You’re not just leading troop meetings. You’re researching options, taking into consideration what all of the girls are interested in doing, planning trips, and learning safety practices for camp. These aren’t small potatoes! Figure out how to tailor these things to the jobs you’re interested in and include them on your resume and on LinkedIn!
Provide concrete examples of what you’ve accomplished.
And finally, try to make your job description as concrete as possible. You didn’t just work with girls on a service project, you worked with a troop of 15 girls to raise $3,429, which funded a brand new community garden that is helping provide fresh produce to your community’s soup kitchen.
You didn’t just facilitate the Girl Scout Cookie Program for five years in a row. You managed a budget of more than $10,000 and organized 2,000 boxes of cookies without misplacing or delivering any to the wrong person. You taught budgeting to a group of 10 girls and encouraged them over five years so they could fund a trip to Europe.
See how much more impressive those descriptions are? Get as concrete as you can with your examples to show how truly amazing you have been as a Girl Scout Volunteer.
When applying for jobs, don’t sell yourself short! As a Girl Scout volunteer, you’re accomplishing amazing things every day. Don’t exclude that from your resume! Employers want to know everything you’re capable of, and you might not be able to show all of it off with just your work experience.