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The one thing most resumes are missing

By adding this important element, experts agree that you can increase the chances of landing your next big job

How often do you update your resume?

“My resume?” you say. “I have a job. I don’t need to update my resume.”

While you may not need an updated resume right at this moment,, the global employment website, reminds us all that it’s important to take some time every six to 12 months to add new skills and experiences to our resumes.

It’s good advice. For many people, job loss or new job opportunities often come swiftly and completely out of nowhere. We get the news of a layoff or discover a new opportunity and suddenly we’re thrown into a mad scramble. We’re forced to not only remember all of the things we’ve done over the past several years, but determine what’s relevant for the hiring world today.

Everyone wants their resume to stand out, but this is something that is getting more difficult in our crazy-busy world. Have you thought about how to make your resume unique? Pull it up on your computer right now and take a look at it. What’s missing? What can you delete?

I know you have a lot of important experiences on your resume, and I know you’re awfully proud of your awards and recognition. But I bet there is one important element that your resume is missing.

According to a study by Career Builder, 60 percent of hiring managers see volunteerism as a valuable asset when making recruitment decisions. And, according to Forbes, those who volunteer on a regular basis have almost a 30 percent better chance of gaining employment.

The authors of a study titled “Volunteers as a Pathway to Employment” recently commented that “acquiring skills or knowledge as a volunteer and then putting them to use may demonstrate higher levels of capacity, potentially making the volunteer more attractive to and productive for employers.”

In other words, you’re more likely to get hired if you include volunteer experience on your resume.

There are many reasons why volunteering is important, but here are three simple reasons why it should be part of your career-building plans:

  1. You learn things. Volunteering not only helps you learn new skills, but you’ll discover unique things about a variety of people and groups. This leads to personal and professional growth.
  2. You meet people. Career building starts with networking. When you volunteer, you get one-on-one time with people you may not always have access to. These are people who could influence your future.
  3. You gain confidence. Doing good leads to feeling good. And feeling good leads to living your life in confidence. Keeping a positive mindset is one of the most important elements in being successful at your career.

If you haven’t volunteered in the past, the perfect place for you to start is at When you click on the volunteer button at the top of the page, you will quickly discover volunteer projects, group and workplace activities, and all available volunteer opportunities.

The possibilities are endless. From food kit packing, to mentoring and guiding others, to reading to children, United Way has an opportunity that will fit your volunteer needs.

If you are a company or organization and you’re looking for a great team-building activity, United Way offers so many ways to help you get started. There are events happening year round—you can even have a project created special just for your group.

If you’re still not convinced, here is one final stat: According to a survey conducted by the website The Muse, 76 percent of career advisors agree that candidates with volunteer experience on their resumes are more likely to get their preferred job.

So it’s time—time to take a few minutes and update your resume. You never know when the next big job is waiting for you.

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Dan Herda is the Director of Communications for United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County. Previously he worked for 20 years in Corporate Communications, Training, and HR.

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