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How To Add Volunteer Experience To Resume

Should You Include Volunteer Work On A Resume

How to Present Volunteer Experience on Your Resume

The short answer is yes volunteer work can absolutely belong on your resume. Volunteer experience shows that you have a genuine interest in a particular field or issue. It also shows initiative and the willingness to go above and beyond whats required, which employers love. If the volunteer work is in the same industry as the one youre applying to, even better!

If youre a student, recent graduate, or career changer, you may not have a lot of relevant paid experience. Volunteer work gives you the opportunity to highlight your skills, whether these are common transferrable skills or a specific skill set that your paid experience doesnt show.

Think outside the box when it comes to volunteer work. This could include working with startups and non-profits, or even unpaid internships. If it demonstrates relevant skills or experience, it belongs on your resume.

You Can Broaden Your Networks

When you leave a job, you may lose touch with some of your connections. While you can maintain professional contacts via social media, you may find that those connections arent able to help you professionally. Or, you might be trying to break into a new industry, and you dont know a single soul.

It can be hard to regain lost connections and forge new ones. Volunteering allows youaccess to a new group of fresh contacts that may be able to help you in your old field or start in a brand new one.

Volunteering also helps you create new personal connections. Like-minded people working on the same project or for the same company and cause can have a lot in common. Your volunteer gig could be a way to expand your social circle.

Volunteer Work Or Volunteer Experience

This heading is standard on resumes. Employers will know exactly what you mean if you organize your volunteer work under this heading.

Because this heading is a standard, expected resume heading, it’s also the best choice if you’re writing a resume that will be scanned by applicant tracking system software. ATS software will be programmed to recognize the headings “Volunteer Work” or “Volunteer Experience” and will be able to correctly parse that information.

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Why Include Your Volunteer Work On A Resume

Including volunteer work on your resume could be what helps you convince a prospective employer that you have what it takes over other candidates.

If youre wondering why put volunteer work on your resume, look no further because we can think of a multitude of reasons that explain how adding volunteer work to a resume can benefit you.

As mentioned, youve probably done a lot more volunteering than you originally thought so whether you have a long career history or youre just started out, those extra activities do help to show potential employers how you have grown your skill set and where you have learnt new abilities or put them into practise.

When you include examples of your achievements in voluntary positions you are also displaying the outcome of your personal involvement and thus providing the hiring manager with concrete cases of how you will be the perfect fit for their business.

Another reason for including voluntary work on your resume is that it demonstrates your willingness to be involved and make change happen. This display of initiative and sense of community is a highly sought-after trait that many companies and organizations look for in their candidates.

Additionally, many employers consider voluntary work as worthwhile as paid employment to a candidates experience, which means that they may even be looking out for it as a basic element of your resume.

Quantify The Impact You Had As A Volunteer

Resume (Volunteer Experience)

Along with getting rid of generics, this takes what you accomplished from subjective to objective and makes it more credible to an outsider.

Come up with at least one meaningful measurement for each work or volunteer experience on your resume.

Did you collaborate on a team of 5, visit 15 villages, lead a group of 20, care for 75 monkeys, donate 400 pounds of medical gear, bike 2,000 miles, raise $25,000, or add 45,000 social media followers? Come up with at least one meaningful measurement for each work or volunteer experience on your resume and add it in.

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Connect Your Volunteer Experiences With Your Skills

As you list volunteer work. It is helpful to add the skills you gained or improved during that work. It is essential to list the skills relevant to the job you are applying for consideration. Volunteer work helps most people gain the following skills:

  • Leadership skills by acting as a leader in the volunteer programme or a group coordinator for a specific project area

  • Communication skills while interacting with the different members of the volunteer group

  • Interpersonal skills while interacting with the people being helped by the volunteer work

  • Organizational skills while running the activities at the volunteer work

  • Technical skills such as teaching, bilingualism, statistical analysis and database management

Related:What to Include in Your Resume Skills Section

What Is The Resume Volunteer Experience Section

The volunteer experience section is the place on your resume where you mention any kind of work you do voluntarily and for free.

And not only is your volunteering good for your community, it also has the potential to benefit your career. Its an excellent way to showcase your key skills and motivation.

However, the way you include it in your resume very much depends on where you are in your career.

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If The Experience Is Controversial

Vounteering for political or religious organizations might not matter to most employers, but to some, it could make a difference. If you’re applying for a paid or volunteer position in the same field for example, to work on a political campaign or at a related nonprofit relevant volunteer experience can work in your favor, as it shows you have a genuine dedication to the cause. On the other hand, it might not be such a good idea to emphasize your church volunteer work if you’re applying to a secular organization, or your animal rights activism if you want to work at a steakhouse. When deciding whether to list volunteer work that involves religion, politics, or protesting , use your best judgment and err on the side of discretion if it doesn’t feel particularly relevant.

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Resources For Volunteer Work: What Are My Options

Make your Volunteer Experience Count

The internet is a treasure trove of resources to help you source an opportunity that enables you to pursue your particular passions whilst making a notable difference to your community and CV alike. Sites such as Do-it and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations provide a wealth of information on all aspects of volunteering, including policy, events, and regional volunteer roles, as well as share online forums where you can contact past and present volunteers to gain an insider’s view into what volunteering involves and how it helped them find suitable employment.

Looking for something more local? Newsagent noticeboards often feature a diverse collection of voluntary community roles, from assisting at a polling station to helping children learn to read. Still undecided? Find a cause you’re passionate about, do some research and take that leap of faith! Your chosen cause will undoubtedly find your sense of initiative inspiring, and, in most cases, will be more than happy to provide you with a glowing reference for your volunteer CV to help you secure your dream career down the road.

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How To List Volunteer Experience If Youre A Seasoned Professional

Volunteering activities are a great addition to your resume even if you are a seasoned professional. Especially when they shaped your personality and personal ethics.

Some may claim that you should list your volunteer experience only if its relevant to the job for which youre applying. That would be a mistake.

Volunteer work teaches you things that hiring managers love to see in any candidate. These include interpersonal skills, teamwork, dependability, customer service, self-motivation and much more.

If a volunteer experience is relevant to the job youre applying for, include it in the work experience section.

If its not that relevant, create a separate section for your volunteering activities.

Either way, be specific and list your key achievements in the same way you do with your work experience. For instance, if you volunteer as a Blood Program Officer, instead of writing Administration and control of the blood bank, write Administered 7 blood drives with 350+ donors for the Red Cross and Armed Services Blood Programs.

What Type Of Volunteer Experience Should You Include On Your Resume

The best volunteer experience you can add to your resume is skill-based volunteer experience. These volunteer opportunities are considered very valuable for your resume because they allow you to donate your time and more importantly, the professional skills employers care about to a worthy cause. Take a look at VolunteerMatch, Idealist, Catchafire, and Points of Light’s HandsOn Network to find the right volunteer opportunity for you.

However, you might not have to seek out a new charity in order to find a skill-based volunteer opportunity to boost your resume. If you’re already involved in a networking group or other professional association, consider taking a more active role within your chapter. This could be anything from volunteering to manage the group’s social media presence to becoming treasurer of the group, to heading up a new committee.

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The Benefits Of Including Volunteer Work On Your Resume

There are several reasons why you may want to include volunteer work on a resume:

Volunteer work may also be beneficial for anyone applying to work in industries where such work is highly valued, such as non-profit organizations or positions in academia.

Use the following tips and examples to learn how to list volunteer work on your resume.


Should You Include Revealing Volunteer Work On Your Resume

How to List Volunteer Work Experience on a Resume: Example

Highlight your volunteer work on your resume. Thats common advice to bolster your experience and credibility. Employers may be impressed by the skills youve learned and contributions youve made through unpaid labour.

A question arises, though, when your volunteering reveals sensitive aspects about yourself. Things like religious and political beliefs, ethnicity, and sexual preference might be inferred.

If so, should you hide that particular experience? Or boast about it proudly because its an important part of who you are.

Why Does This Even Matter In A Multicultural Society?

Canada is home to a very diverse population. We celebrate multiculturalism and encourage, at a minimum, tolerance of many differences.

So it might seem unnecessary in this day and age to hide who you really are. After all, why should you get judged in terms of what you believe, where you come from, what your race is, or who you love?

And anyway, these aspects are protected under our employment laws. Plus many employers are hungering to hire diversity candidates.

True. But unfortunately there are still some people in hiring positions who cling to old prejudices. Theyre personally biased about whats acceptable in a candidates private life. In extreme cases, they are bigots who dont want those kinds of people working there.

Volunteer Work That Might Reveal Private Aspects Of Yourself

Some Good Reasons To Highlight This Type Of Volunteer Work

– is intent on diversity hiring

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What Counts As Volunteer Experience On Cv: Examples

Anything you do for free counts as volunteer CV experience.

That includes work for blood drives and soup kitchens. It also means pro bono work or helping an ailing parent.

The better the cause, the better the CV volunteer experience. Use it to show accomplishments that fit the job offer.

These how to list volunteer work on CVs examples show how:

Job ad wants skills in planning, training, and leadership.

Stroke Rehabilitation Volunteer Work

  • Helped my father recover from a stroke. He was unable to move or talk. In two months he drove his own car 2,100 miles to stay with his brother.
  • Trained him in basic tasks like reading a clock, shopping, cooking meals, and driving his car.
  • Led team of 4 siblings to take turns watching him until he was 100% independent.
  • Helped father recover from a stroke.


The first of those volunteer experience on CV samples is Oprah-style.

When Not To Include It On Linkedin

LinkedIn is a professional social network website. Generally, your LinkedIn profile should match your resume. But, the LinkedIn profile is public and everyone can see it. So, you cannot always include all of the same details on your resume that is intended to be sent to specific audiences. The decision about whether to include volunteer experience on your LinkedIn profile is an important one. Here is when you should not include volunteering on your LinkedIn profile:

Read Also: Community Service On Resume

Include Keywords From The Job Posting

Carefully read each job posting for which you intend to apply. Identify keywords used in the job posting, especially those under the qualifications and required skills and experiences sections. Understanding the employers ideal candidate can help you when deciding whether to include a volunteer work section and how you should position it.

For example, if the employer expresses interest in candidates with strong organizational skills, you might take a moment to consider specific times during volunteer work you successfully executed this quality. You should also use this information when writing your skills and professional experience sections.

How To Incorporate Volunteer Work On Your Cv

How to Market Your Volunteer Experience on Your Resume

Job-related volunteer work:

In order to demonstrate your relevant experience within a specific career field, you can incorporate job-related volunteer work within your work experience section. This is especially beneficial when you do not have as much paid work experience within this particular area of work. In this case, you may want to consider changing the section title to Relevant Experience or Related Experience. You can even incorporate a customized career field section title that employs your specific occupational field. i.e.: . For example, if you are applying to a teaching position and your volunteer experience is relevant to the field of education, you can utilize the title Relevant Teaching Experience, and list both your paid teaching positions as well as your voluntary educational experiences. This can be applied to any career field or job position.

Another option may be to . For instance, if you are applying for a marketing position you can divide your work experience sections into required skill areas such as Webmaster Experience and Social Media Experience. Another practical example, in the case that you are applying for a public relations position, you can utilize two separate required skill-based sections: Fundraising Experience and Event Planning Experience. In this way, you can incorporate your related volunteer work within these sections, not only your paid work experience.

Unrelated volunteer work:

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Finding A Job After Volunteering

While nothing in life is guaranteed, one more thing to consider is that volunteering may help you get your foot in the door at a company and could result in a job offer.

Showing interest in the employers mission, and even explicitly stating that youd be interested in any future job openings, can be a great way to a potential job. Its also a networking opportunity.

But whether your volunteering experience leads to a job or not, FlexJobs is here to help you find your next role. Flexible schedules, remote work, and freelance gigs are just some of the work flexibility options our jobs offer. Take the tour to learn more about the benefits of a FlexJobs membership!

How To Add Volunteer Experience To Your Linkedin Profile

Make sure that you add each volunteer experience to your LinkedIn profile separately. And, fill out each of the fields completely to make the most of the addition to your profile. This is important to maximize the visibility of the entry on LinkedIn and to provide relevant context to the person who may not be familiar with your work or the organization.

Here is how to add a volunteer experience entry to your LinkedIn profile:

  • Go to your profile.
  • Select “Background” from the drop-down.
  • Fill out each of the fields in the pop-up. Make sure to use the drop-downs in that window to select the right titles and organization. This will maximize your visibility on LinkedIn.
  • Include a description of what you do in a way that is relevant to your current professional message and that provides relevant context to an outsider about what the organization does.
  • Want help to maximize your LinkedIn profile? Have our team of professional profile builders make the most of your LinkedIn profile today. Get help now.

    Connecting people with their dream jobs post-COVID using industry insights and technology expertise l The Contingent Plan

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    How To Describe Volunteer Experience In A Cv Or Job Interview

    Disclaimer: The images in this article were taken pre-COVID-19.

    Better education and work opportunities are great reasons to volunteer or intern abroad, as this could give you the upper hand in college or job applications. But, how do you make sure potential colleges or employers know about your experiences?

    Mentioning your intern or volunteer work on your resume or during a job interview is important for several reasons. It allows you to fill in the gaps between jobs, or work and study, and demonstrate any key skills learnt. Youll also clearly show your personal commitment to making an impact in the world.

    So, how do you make sure youre communicating your experiences in the best way possible to potential employers or colleagues?

    Lets find out.


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