Boost Your Self-Esteem: Showcase Unpaid Work Experience on Your Resume

We’ve moved into a new year, and many people are looking to make positive changes in their lives, boost their self-confidence and their self-esteem. If you’re looking for a new job, thinking about a career change or just want to earn some extra money, you need to analyze your skills.

Take some time to really think about the range of skills and experience you have – including unpaid work experience that might just make you the best candidate! Reach deep to discover and articulate more of your skills and you can land the position of your dreams.

Whatever your situation, you may find yourself wanting to showcase some your non-paid work experiences. What constitutes non-paid work experience? Here are some examples:

  1. If you’ve ever led an organized group for children, you have non-paid experience under your belt. Being a Cub Scout Leader, Girl Scout Leader, or Eagle Scout Leader involves numerous skills and talents. More about that later.
  2. Volunteer assignments and experiences certainly count. If you’ve ever been a volunteer, you know the dedication, skill and work it requires.
  3. Being a member of your local school’s Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) can be considered non-paid work experience.
  4. Serving on community committees would certainly count.
  5. Perhaps you’ve done a lot of babysitting over the years for neighbors, friends and family members. Babysitting requires many skills that can be showcased on a resume or in an interview.

Exploring Skills and Experiences

Determining the skills used and the tasks completed for each non-paid work experience takes a little time. Let’s consider the above-listed examples and review sample skills and duties for each.

  1. For Scout Leader or similar “leader” positions of organized children’s groups, what duties did you perform? How could you phrase them so that they’re relevant to a work environment?

Responsible for management of weekly meetings.
Performed scheduling duties: Set schedules for when, where and how long to meet.
Utilized planning skills to plan weekly, monthly, or yearly activities.
Demonstrated organization skills: Gathered necessary supplies, made appropriate purchase orders and selected materials.
Budget design and management.
Prepared reports for the local organization that oversees the group.

  1. When you volunteer, skills and experiences will vary depending on the type of volunteer work performed. For the sake of illustration, let’s assume you did volunteer work for a local social service organization.

Consistently reported for duties on time and ready to work.
Performed sorting and delivery of daily mail 2 days per week.
Planned and carried out mass mailings of program materials.
Provided unpaid staff leadership in the supervisor’s absence.
Designed and wrote monthly program newsletter.

  1. As a member of a PTO, you might have performed a variety of duties that can be showcased on your resume as non-paid work experience.

Acted as Committee Chair for Fundraising Events.
Planned and coordinated fundraising events for the school.
Served as Co-Chair of Meet and Greet Committee.
Developed activities to encourage more parents to join PTO.
Responsible for increasing PTO membership by 3% per year over 3-year involvement.

  1. For this example, you served as a volunteer in the fictitious Welcome to Our Town group. The following duties could be noted on your resume as non-paid work experience:

Developed marketing flyers for the town.
Coordinated meetings of Welcome to Our Town staff.
Supervised volunteer staff of 4. Supervising volunteers can be a weighty asset; most hiring managers know how challenging it can be to manage people who aren’t being paid.
Responsible for setting up exhibits and providing information about the town at local publicity events.
Conducted phone interviews with new community members.

  1. Being a babysitter involves several skills and duties and a lot of responsibility.

Provided childcare to 4 children, ages 2 to 4, Monday through Friday, over a 2-year span.
Planned, organized and conducted field trips and tours to local museums and parks for the children.
Kept documentation on each child to share with parents regarding the child’s behavior and activities throughout the day.

Begin a list now of your unpaid work experience, compiling the position and approximate month and year you started and ended each “job.” Use the above examples to get ideas for the list of skills necessary for each experience and the duties you performed. Remember that each experience has given you the opportunity to gain skills and knowledge that can help you reach for your next career goal or even switch careers.

Compiling this information should help you see yourself in a new, more positive light, and help you love who and what you see in the mirror every single day.