Get the Job: Don’t Forget Your Volunteer Work!

Houseparent job listings often list certain experience in the qualifications. Most roles require that you’ve worked with children in some capacity in the past. But you don’t have to be a former teacher, social worker, or youth minister to prove that you have a heart for and experience working with children. Look no further than your unpaid volunteer work!

Volunteering not only highlights your commitment to community and personal growth but also demonstrates valuable skills that can be transferable to your work as a houseparent.

Here’s how you can creatively incorporate volunteer experience into your resume:

     1. Rethink the “Volunteer” section on your resume

You can include your volunteer experience in two ways. First, you can simply add a distinct section to your resume titled “Volunteer Experience” or “Community Involvement.” This immediately signals to potential employers that you have a history of contributing your time and skills beyond paid work.

Another option to consider is to integrate your volunteer work alongside your professional roles, especially if it is more relevant to the houseparent role than your current/former career. This can be particularly useful if you have gaps in your employment history. 

     2. Detail volunteer work as you would a job 

Treat your volunteer roles like professional jobs. Provide a brief description of the organization and your role, followed by supporting points detailing your responsibilities and achievements. Focus on skills that are relevant to the job description you’re applying to. 

     3. Highlight transferable skills

If you’re looking at a job description at a specific employer, study it closely. What skills do they require and what values do they highlight that you can mirror on your resume?

For example, houseparent employers might be looking for applicants who have strong morals and integrity, can remain calm under pressure, are organized, and possess excellent communication skills with a wide range of people. 

The path to becoming a houseparent looks different for every couple. While some have lifelong careers working with children, houseparents come from a wide range of backgrounds including law enforcement, entrepreneurship, healthcare, manufacturing, and more. Incorporating your unpaid volunteer work helps show employers that you have experience they’re looking for, but also showcases your character, skills, and dedication to making a difference.

By creatively highlighting your volunteer experience, you can set yourself apart as a well-rounded candidate who brings more than just professional work experience to the table. So, take the time to thoughtfully include your volunteer work and let it shine on your resume.

About the Author is a career resource and job board for people interested in pursuing a career in residential childcare. Our mission is to connect dedicated married couples and individuals with employers hiring houseparents, cottage parents, teaching couples and other live-in caregiving roles. Our goal is to share tools, resources and career opportunities so that you can make an impact in the lives of children who need it most.

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