7 skills to list on your resume and how you can demonstrate them through your Volunteer Work

Hello! Welcome to the Kindness Clubhouse!

There is a common problem that I am asked by high school students and college students to help with.

They feel stuck and at a disadvantage when it comes to applying for jobs – either while they are in school or after graduation. 

Employers want to hire people with experience. In order to get experience, you need the job that won’t hire you without it. It is a messy cycle.

BUT there is a solution and I have spent years working with students to help them with it. Volunteering.  By learning to organize service projects for your campus and your community, the students I work with develop valuable job skills that employers want.

In this post, I list the top 7 skills employers are looking for and how you can demonstrate them through your volunteer work. Even more important, I provide you with tips on what to mention on your resume, in your cover letter, and during your interview.

New here? I have these blog posts to help you help youth Radiate Outrageous Compassion & Kindness.

5 Reasons you need to start a Kindness Club at your school or in your community today

25 items to have in your home or classroom to inspire kids to be kinder

3 Classroom Management tips that encourage students to be kind

Job Skill #1 – Positive Attitude

Most employers want someone that has a positive attitude. You may not know everything about the job but if you come in each day ready to make the best of any challenge, employers want you around. A positive attitude lifts a team up and encourages everyone to perform their best.

You can demonstrate a positive attitude by discussing the volunteer work you have completed. Mention, specifically, how you overcame any challenges.  Talk about the group dynamics and if you were able to encourage or motivate the other volunteers you served with. It is okay to mention if there were struggles while doing the project, but you want to emphasize how it helped you learn or develop new skills.

Job Skill #2 – Communication

When you talk about your communication skills make sure you acknowledge that communication is knowing how to listen as well as knowing how to share a message.  Your message can be shared verbally and through written means. Your internal audience is the team you serve with while your external audience is everyone that you publicize your program to –  for fundraising, recruitment, or to develop partnerships.

Being a volunteer leader helps you develop awesome communication skills. You have to know how to get people interested in what you are doing so they join your project or support it through donations and in-kind sponsorships.  You also communicate with clients (the people you serve) and with partners (the community agency). If you send emails, write a newsletter, start a letter campaign, or blog about your experience you are demonstrating communication skills.

Job Skill #3 – Teamwork

Teamwork is about having a group of people working together towards the same goal. You discover each person’s strengths and learn how to give and take so that everyone has a part to play.

Successful volunteer projects require teamwork.  You can demonstrate that you understand this by mentioning how you contributed to the service project and what you struggled with.  How did you overcome any challenges by relying on someone else? Did you have to delegate any tasks to anyone on your team? Not all teams work together smoothly all the time so if you had any conflicts or struggles, talk about what you did, as a team, to work through them.

Job Skill #4  – Self-Management

Self-management is all about taking initiative, working on projects without direct supervision, and being reliable.  Employers feel this is extremely important. They want to know you will be where you say you are and that they can give you something to do and know it will be completed when it is needed.

Every person that does volunteer work can demonstrate this self-management skill. By listing a project that you organized or work with a team to organize, you show that you can set a goal and take the necessary steps to reach it.  I haven’t talked much about references and who to list when applying for a job, but you want someone who can talk about how you take initiative and get things done.

Personal & Professional Development are essential to learning new skills that employers want to see.

As a “THANK YOU” for visiting the Project Stella Resources blog, you can get a free trial to Audible and get 2 free books that you can keep!


 Job Skill #5 – Thinking Skills

Thinking skills can be demonstrated in several different ways. It can be working through a problem or doing some creative brainstorming.  Skills might be shown through taking a big idea and breaking it down into small, manageable pieces. Employers value this skill because they want to know you have the ability to take ownership of tasks and not have to be watched over for each small project.

Whenever you had to solve a problem or work through the logistics of a project, you are using thinking skills.  Discuss how you lead or were involved in brainstorming sessions or how you had to work through an issue that appeared at the last moment.  You don’t need to exaggerate anything when you talk about thinking skills but make sure they know that there was a situation that could have been worse if not for you being able to problem-solve through it or make a decision quickly.

Job Skill #6 – Willingness to Learn

Learning is not just for the classroom. Your willingness to learn is such a valuable quality because your employer wants to know that you are teachable. Most of your first year on the job is going to be learning.  Either through reading manuals, going through training, or taking responsibility for your own professional development, you are going to be gaining lots of new knowledge.

You probably didn’t start your service project or program knowing every single thing about it.  You had to be willing to learn and be interested in your work to continue to do so. If you attended meetings, went to conferences, researched an article, or asked about best practices, you demonstrated your commitment to learning what you needed to in order to be successful.

Job Skill #7 –  Resilience

Resilience is all about bouncing back from tough situations and continuing on with a project or a goal without giving up.  It is pulling together all the skills mentioned above to be used on a final exam. Because, even with be as prepared as you can possibly be, things go wrong.  Resiliency is all about what you do when that happens.

Did you have a horrible first event? Did you plan a service project and no one showed up or there was miscommunication so you didn’t have food or supplies?  These are very common situations that project leaders have faced. You are not alone. But on your resume or cover letter you want to talk about what you did take care of the situation. What did you learn from the experience and how did you make changes for the next time so you were successful.

So…how do you develop these skills to list on your resume?

You want to make sure that you have experiences to talk about specific things you have done to demonstrate them.

The best way to get these skills is to organize your own service project or volunteer program.  

Develop your Leadership Skills

– Create a vision

– Develop Community Partnerships

– Build a team

– Create a Buzz: Publicize & Fundraise

– Plan Logistics

– Track your numbers

– Celebrate!

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The Complete Guide for Student Leaders to Plan Service Projects 

For the purpose-drive student looking to be a leader on campus and make a massive impact on the world

I’m Ready to Do This!

Here’s what I already know about you.

  • You are a passionate, purpose driven woman who wants to make a difference in her community
  • You are a high-achiever and want to use your skills and talents to serve a greater purpose
  • You want to be an Agent of Change and provide solutions to problems and injustices around you.
  • You want to get clear on your vision and how to make the most positive impact you can

You want to leave a legacy…

This Complete Guide for Student Leaders to Plan Service Projects is THE step-by-step course for the driven student who is serious about creating positive change that lives on long after you leave campus.  

Sign me up. I’m so ready.

You Want: Clarity, Support, and a Step-by-Step Action Plan

If you know you could benefit from the daily support from other student leaders just like you, specific how-to€™ strategies, as well as the €˜what to do€™ direction from someone who’s been there before you…and who can save you a lot of time and effort so you reach your dreams 10 times faster.

Then YES this is the course is for you!

Like attracts like – when you surround yourself with big dreamers, it totally rubs off on you. That energy and focus can be unreal!!

Support is everything.

Being an “Agent of Change” can be lonely. You had a passion and will do anything to make it happen but you risk putting academics and a social life to the side.  Your friends don’t seem to understand that language you are speaking.

This program includes a community of other students so you get that support and build relationships!

You also have easy to implement action steps so you can set aside time to still have a social life and study for your classes.

Imagine that you get to learn from the leader who has done it before and received recognition from the President of the United States AND served with the Corporation for National and Community Service. You get all of their secrets that to create a service program that changes lives. You also get to learn from all of the other members of the group. Best resources to develop community partners? How to recruit volunteers? Strategies to raise money and get sponsors for a successful project?

Someone in the group has probably done it and you can work together to help each other out.

Sick of trying to do this whole thing all by yourself?

You need this program.

Why take this Course?

  • In high school, I told my counselor that I wanted to make a difference. I received the Ray A Kroc Youth Achievement award for my community service efforts (and free McDonald’s for a year).
  • Then I received a full-tuition scholarship for being an Outstanding Student in Community Service.
  • In college, I started the first Colleges Against Cancer organization which spread to universities all over the United States and gave me the opportunity to plan youth conferences (regional and national) with the American Cancer Society.
  • My volunteer efforts earned state and national recognition – the youngest recipient of the 13WMAZ Straight for the Heart Award, Daily Points of Light Honoree, and Presidential Volunteer Service Award Lifetime Achievement.
  • I now serve as a Director of Student Engagement with 18 years of experience training student leaders to succeed and am a Chapter Advisor of The National Society of Leadership and Success.

Training student leaders to make a difference is my passion! 

And I am here to support you so your dream comes true.

Let’s Do This Now

Course: 8 Modules, 36 Mini-Lessons

You will have access to work through the course at your own pace. There are 8 modules with 36 mini lessons (3-4 minute videos) that take you through Creating a Vision, Finding a Community Partner, Developing a Team, Creating a Buzz, Planning Logistics, Evaluating your Project, and Celebrating Success.

Private Facebook Community

Yes! Access to me and the group whenever you need it. We use the Facebook community so you can ask any questions and get feedback without any judgement. The community is seriously priceless! We speak your language!

I’m ready to begin! 

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