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How to talk about activism experience on your resume

And how to find a job that values it.

Whether you’re fighting for racial justice, climate action, or another cause close to your heart, activism and volunteer experience can go on your resume. Any experience that has helped you build new skills can be included on your resume, whether or not it was a formal job or internship. But how do you do it—and should you?

Should you list your activism experience?

Many people want to find a workplace that fully aligns with their values. For others, their work and their activism remain separate.

Putting activism on your resume sends a clear message about your values. It could eliminate an employer that isn’t comfortable with your beliefs or actions. But, the choice is yours. For example, if you’re looking to enter a more conservative industry, you may choose to leave activism off your resume until you have a better sense of how it aligns with your future workplace.

Listing activism experience on your resume

There are a couple ways to list your activism or volunteer experience.

You can create a separate section, in addition to Work Experience, and title it “Volunteer Experience.” (Depending on your role, you can also call this section Leadership Experience). Then, use the same bullet point style as the rest of the resume to describe what you did:

  • Planned and ran fundraiser that raised over $5000 dollars for local homeless shelter
  • Organized a protest…
  • Launched a postcard writing campaign…

If you developed specific hard skills – like fundraising, public speaking, or event planning – during your activism work, you can also list these in the Skills section. If you want to show off skills like collaboration or problem-solving, read our blog post about how to highlight soft skills in your resume and cover letter.

How to see if an employer aligns with your values

It’s always important to do your research on a prospective employer, whether through Google or through their social media profiles and Glassdoor page. Here are some potential questions to explore:

  • What does their C-suite look like?
  • Do they release their diversity data publicly?
  • What do their benefits look like? Do they offer time off for volunteer work, or matching donations?
  • Does the company have a corporate foundation (a company-funded organization that gives out money to nonprofits)? If so, what do they donate to?
  • Have they been in the news recently, for good or bad reasons?

You can also ask your career center to connect you to any alumni at the company, so you can ask them questions directly.

Image courtesy of Markus Spiske on Pexels

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