You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Red Sox Live

1

2

▲  4th Inning 0 outs

Job Doc

Don’t undersell volunteer experience on a resume

Q. I look at my resume and it has volunteer this and volunteer that. It doesn’t look like I have held a real job for years. How do I fix that? Or am I destined to just be a long-term volunteer?

A. You have raised a hot-button issue with me. Don’t state that you’re a volunteer. Just list and describe the positions you’ve held. So if you were chair of fund-raising, why not include that title? If you served on the compensation committee of a nonprofit, why wouldn’t you state that? Think about it. A job candidate who is head of finance for a biotech company doesn’t specify on his or her resume that the position is paid. They list the role, the employer, the dates of employment, and information about the position and responsibilities.

Continue reading below

You are not destined to become “just a long-term volunteer” unless you choose that as your path.

You hit another hot topic with me. You, and only you, are the chief executive of your career. Do not rely on your spouse, career coach, placement agency, family member, or even your employer. You should actively choose what you want to do within realistic limitations. Don’t expect someone else to find you a job.

Your search and your career rest squarely on your shoulders. Your realistic limitations may be skill-based (no experience in accounting), geography-based (only South Shore) or pay-based (must make $50,000).

When job seekers tell me that their next job will come through a friend, spouse, parent, search firm,or other source, I get nervous. It is the job seeker’s role to pursue every path and every job lead.

Think about my suggested approach. Often volunteer positions are just as relevant as paid roles. If asked, you should always be candid and disclose whether the role was paid or volunteer. Volunteer, however, does not mean less valuable.

Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton.
Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.