How to Include Non-Job Related Skills and Experience on Your Resume

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You’re getting ready to apply for a new gig when you realize you don’t exactly have all the experience the potential side hustle requires. We use the term not exactly because maybe you have performed most of the duties listed in the advertisement, you just haven’t received payment for everything. That’s because you completed some work as a volunteer. Should you include non-job related skills like this information on your resume? As is often the case, the answer is “it depends.”

Who Should and Shouldn’t Include Non-Job Related Skills on Their Resume?

Including non-job related skills can highlight soft skills you wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to list. Even so, not everyone should rush to include volunteer work or other skills that don’t necessarily relate to the position. You might want to consider this option if you:

  • Are a recent college graduate without a lot of paid work experience.
  • Want to make a significant career change and want to highlight a broad range of skills.
  • Have long gaps in your employment history due to an involuntary lay-off and want to demonstrate that you have kept yourself busy.
  • Are applying to work with a non-profit or a company known for its philanthropy or volunteerism.

Listing non-job related skills on your resume may not be the best choice if you are at the mid-career point or higher. You likely have enough work experience and related skills to highlight on their own without needing to include this extra information. Another important consideration is how long ago you completed the volunteer work. If it was more than a few years ago, the experience may no longer be relevant anyway.

Think Beyond the Job Title When Deciding What to Include

You may be limiting yourself somewhat by focusing on your past job titles. How the job titles relate to the specific skills requested by the client can vary. If so, try to challenge yourself to thinking beyond what you completed on a day-to-day basis to any special projects or tasks you took on that may be relevant. As you reflect on past experiences, jot down results you achieved that help to highlight the benefits you could bring to a new company.

Consider the Relevance of Your Volunteer Work When Formatting Your Resume

If you feel that your recent non-paid work is relevant to the gig position you want to land, feel free to include it under work or professional experience. Just be sure to indicate that you gained the skills or experience from a volunteer position. When the experience seems less relevant, consider placing it under a separate heading. Examples include Other Experience, Additional Information, or Volunteer Work Experience.

Remember that companies hiring independent workers tend to value flexibility. You could be pleasantly surprised that the interviewer gives just as much consideration to your non-job related skills as the ones you have earned pay to complete.


About the Author: Lisa Kroulik has worked as a freelance content marketing writer for 10 years. She loves the work and the lifestyle it affords. Learn more about Lisa’s work and availability through Writer Access.

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