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How To Describe Volunteer Work On Resume

Related Experience Or Relevant Experience

How to Write a Volunteering Section for Your Resume in 2021 [Resume Examples Included]

Occasionally you may want to combine different types of experience into one section that groups all of your relevant experience – volunteer work, internships, and possibly even paid employment, for example. In that case, “Related Experience” is a reasonable heading to use.;

This type of resume organization can be appropriate for human-reviewed resumes. It is not ideal for ATS optimized resumes because the non-standard organization may cause errors when the software parses your resume.

Never use tricky resume formatting to try to pass off volunteer work as paid employment experience. If you do put any volunteer work under a heading like “Related Experience” that does not make it clear that some or all of the entries under that heading are volunteer work, you need to indicate on the entry that the work was a volunteer position.

Simply include the word “volunteer” in brackets beside the name of the position you held. Like this:

You know how to format volunteer work on a resume, but before you dive in and start writing your resume, you need to ensure your volunteer work should actually be included on the resume, and you’ll need to decide where to place that section on the resume.

I’ve written about both topics here:

If You Have Extensive Paid Experience

Paid work experience will always have more weight than volunteer work. If you already have plenty of recent work experience thats relevant to the position youre applying for, theres no need to add volunteer experience on top of that. You want the hiring manager to focus on the strongest parts of your resume, which sometimes means leaving off other things that arent as impressive.

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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.

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How To Include Volunteer Experience In Your Resume

Now that we went over the whens, lets go over the most important part – how to include volunteer experience in your resume in a way that highlights your skills and emphasizes your achievements.;

As we mentioned before, volunteer experience can be a section of its own or can count as work experience in some specific cases.;

DO include it as part of the work experience section if:;

  • The experience is super relevant to the job you are applying for.
  • You have otherwise little paid experience.;

For example, lets say youre applying for a job in Journalism, but youve never worked as a professional in the field. However, you have plenty of journalism experience from years of volunteering at your universitys newspaper.;

Heres what this would look like in your resume:

Journalism Experience;

Reading Owl Daily

2017 – 2019

  • Volunteering experience as Reporter for the Universitys daily newspaper. Covered the News section, as well as handled copy editing.;
  • Kept track of the newspapers online presence and updated its WordPress site daily.;
  • Wrote a total of 50 interviews for two years.;

Now, when your volunteering experience isnt specifically related to the job youre applying for,;youre better off creating a separate volunteer experience section and formatting it just like the work experience section:

  • Volunteering Position
  • Dates
  • Responsibilities & Achievements

Confused? Let us cover an example:;

Heres how you could do that:

Volunteer Experience;

Why Do You Identify With The Organization

Work And Volunteer Experience Resume

You can list your volunteer work in a resume in a small section along with any awards or certifications you may have! Unlike the work experience section, I dont care much about the results of your actions. Instead, I would include more information about why you partner with that organization and why you identify with its mission. This is an opportunity to differentiate yourself from other applicants and help the recruiter get to know you more.

Vanessa Molica, The Lash Professional

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Why Is Volunteer Work On A Resume Formatted In This Way

Formatting your volunteer work in this manner ensures you have:;

  • included all relevant information an employer would expect to see
  • highlighted the most important information
  • arranged the information in a way that is easy to read at a glance

Let’s take a look at each piece of information in a little more detail to help you understand the reasoning behind the formatting choices.

Title That Describes What You Did

The title that describes what you did as a volunteer is usually the most important information for each volunteer job you list on your resume. It quickly tells the employer what you did as a volunteer and how that relates to the job you are seeking.;

Because it is the most important piece of information in this section of your resume, it is placed in the most prominent position, on the first line, and on the left. The text is bolded to help it stand out at a glance.


The dates when you volunteered include helpful information, but they are not the most important thing you want employers to see first. Dates indicate how recent your experience is, and how long you have been volunteering at the organization.

They are easy to see at a glance on the right side of the top line of each entry. They are not as important as the title that describes what you did, so they are not highlighted in the same way.;

Organization, City, State

Points Describing Your Volunteer Work

Add Contact Information To Your Volunteer Resume

Your name should be the biggest text on the page and be at or near the top of the document.

Your address doesn’t need to include your street name or house number – listing your city and state works just fine.

Your email address should be professional, but not your current work email address. It’s not a good look to use your work email for personal projects .

Your social media can be included if you have a fully-fledged LinkedIn page or another social media page that showcases your relevant skill set.

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How To List Volunteer Work On Your Resume

Volunteer work should be listed on your resume using the same format as your work experience section. In other words, you should include the organization you volunteered for, its location, the time frame, followed by a bulleted list explaining what you accomplished while volunteering there.

Heres an example of volunteer experience on a resume:

Volunteer, Cranford Food Distribution Center, Cranford, NJ;May 2020 Present

  • Trained 5 new volunteers, helping them develop a strong commitment to community service.
  • Helped prepare food and dish out meals to over 200 people per day.
  • Planned and organized two successful fundraising events, which raised the food bank over $2,500 in total.

However, if your volunteer experience isnt highly relevant to the job you want, list it on your resume using a shorter format.

For example, heres how you can include volunteer experience on your resume without taking up too much space:

Big Buddys Reading Help, Volunteer

  • Tutored grade school children in Los Angeles in reading comprehension.

Emphasize Your Volunteer Skills

Volunteer Experience – Why and how to Include it on your resume

Many nonprofit organizations receive more applications than they have time to review. Some nonprofits even use applicant tracking software to pick candidates. Therefore, you should include terms that ATS algorithms are programmed to recognize.

Volunteer recruiters are looking for both hard and soft skills that prove you fit their requirements. Here are some skills to consider mentioning on your volunteer resume:

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Listing Job Promotions As Separate Entries

This format is useful if you served in each position for several years with different responsibilities in each.


Office Assistant and Manager, Tennessee Valley AuthorityJanuary 2015 â November 2020


Office Manager, Tennessee Valley AuthorityJanuary 2016 â November 2020⢠Job Description & AchievementsOffice Assistant, Tennessee Valley AuthorityJanuary 2015 â January 2016⢠Job Description & Achievements

The choice to format promotions as two separate entries should be reserved for instances where most or all of your work experience has been in different positions within the same company

Otherwise, the stacked format allows you to feature other work experiences with different employers as well.

How To Include Volunteer Experience On Your Resume

Is it acceptable to include volunteer work on your resume when you’re applying for jobs? Adding volunteering to your resume can help you get hiredespecially when you don’t have a lot of paid work experience to include.

Volunteer work can be an excellent way to;showcase key skills;such as event planning, fundraising, or problem-solving and can be integrated with your other paid work experiences or listed separately.

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Why Should You List Volunteer Experience On Your Resume

Its as valuable as paid work. About 41 % of hiring managers consider volunteer work as valuable as paid work when evaluating candidates, . About 20 % of hiring managers in the U.S. hired a candidate based on their volunteer experience.

It speaks volumes about your character. In addition to skills particular to every position, volunteer experience always shows an employer that youre willing to get involved in your community, take initiative, and make things happen. Volunteering shows qualities that are highly sought after in every industry. It would be a terrible mistake to pass on such opportunity.

Target The Employer’s Philanthropic Leanings

Volunteer Work Volunteer Experience On Resume Examples

Spend some time researching prospective employers to discover how much emphasis they place;on community and philanthropy. Modify;your volunteer section to reflect the stance of the companies that interest you.;

If you find out that a company to which you’re applying champions;a specific cause or organizationfor example, Patagonia is very eco-consciousbe sure to mention any similar orgs you’ve volunteered with. This demonstrates that you’re familiar with the issues and could be a solid cultural fit within the company.

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What To Exclude From Your Work History

When you are writing your work experience section, it is important to note that you donât want to include every job under the sun that you have ever held.

A hiring manager wonât want to read through all of that, nor are all of your experiences likely to be relevant for the job you are applying to.

For instance, short-term jobs that you left soon after being hired may not be the best to include, as this can lead to speculation and uncertainty as to why you held the position for so short an amount of time.

If you happened to work a job that was purposefully or contractually short-term but holds a high level of relevance to the job you are currently applying for, it can be useful to include a short note explaining why you were only in the position for a limited amount of time.

How To Showcase Your Volunteer Work On Your Resume

Maybe you are reentering the workforce after a career break, or maybe you are looking to change careers. Either are good reasons to contemplate including volunteer work on your resume. The answer of whether or not you should all depends on the position you’re applying for.

Whether to put volunteer projects on your resume depends on how relevant the work was to your career or future career and as well as how deeply involved you were in the organization. A key thing to remember is to be scrupulously honest to avoid misleading hiring managers about unpaid work in your past.;If done right, having a volunteer resume section could help you stand out in a crowded field of job applicants.

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Leverage Volunteer Work On Your Resume

You may have altruistic reasons for volunteering, but giving your time has career-enhancing power, too.

“Volunteer work, whether in addition to a current job or an activity in between jobs, shows an employer that you are willing to try new experiences, be involved in your community and generally demonstrates a willingness to take initiative and make things happen,” says Kara Montermoso, content manager at, a site that connects people and nonprofit organizations.

Related:;Does your resume pass the 6-second test?;Get a FREE assessment.

So how do you leverage these positive traits on your resume? The best way to format your volunteer work depends on your career level and track. Follow these tips:

New Grads

Entry-level workers with minimal or no work experience should emphasize their volunteer work — even make volunteerism a central part of the resume.

“Many recent college grads do not have that much work experience, so highlighting — in a skills-oriented way — their volunteer experiences is a great way to go,” Montermoso says. “They can highlight communication, leadership and planning skills while showing that they are adaptable and self-motivated.

Career Changers and Workers Reentering the Workforce

Those on a Steady Career Track

Too Much Information?

Target the Employer

The Benefits Of Including Volunteer Work On Your Resume

Make your Volunteer Experience Count

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.

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How To Structure A Separate Volunteering Experience Section

Another option is to create a separate section on your resume for volunteer work. This can be a good strategy if you have extensive volunteering experience with different organizations and you want to showcase that.

If you do this, you should structure your volunteer work in the same way you would any paid experience, with clear bullet points focusing on achievements rather than responsibilities. Raised $5,000 for wildlife rehabilitation is specific and measurable; responsible for fundraising activities is too vague.

How To Include Volunteer Work On Cv When Its Minor

Some volunteer work isnt central to the job.

Maybe you walked dogs for a local shelter. Maybe you helped with a bake sale.

That volunteer CV experience can still impress. But dont list it as work experience.

How to list volunteer work on CVs when its minor:

  • If you have lots, put it in a volunteering section below Experience.
  • If you have little, put it in an Activities section.

The first of those how to list volunteer work on CV examples is Gates-Foundation-worthy.

It proves skills the employer wants.

Expert Hint: Dont list every piece of volunteer experience on CVs. If youve got more impressive feats, save the CV real estate for them instead.

The ResumeLab builder is more than looks. Get specific content to boost your chances of getting the job. Add job descriptions, bullet points, and skills. Easy. Improve your CV in our CV builder now.

Nail it all with a splash of colour, choose a clean font, highlight your skills in just a few clicks. Youre the perfect candidate and well prove it. Use the ResumeLab builder now.

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Where And Why To Include Volunteer Work On A Resume

Adding volunteer work on a resume will help you stand out from other applicants. Heres how we recommend doing this.

Sharing your volunteer work on a resume has numerous benefits for job candidates. It shows that you are a responsible, charitable, and caring person. Also, it aligns you with organizations that will garner attention from hiring managers. When you are against stiff competition for a job, volunteer work will make you stand out against other candidates.;

There are multiple ways to effectively showcase your volunteer experience with your resume format. The formatting option thats best for you depends on the kind of volunteer work you do and your reason for including your volunteer work on a resume.

In this post, well highlight exactly how volunteering can help you secure an interview or transition careers as well as where to put your volunteer work on a resume. Lets get started!

Show Why Youre A Culture Fit

10+ Work Resume Templates

If volunteering for a particular organization is near and dear to your heart, I would include that in your resume. As someone who has seen a lot of resumes before, I think this information is best when nested under an Awards, Hobbies and Interests. I personally love seeing this part of a candidates resume because it gives me an idea of whether they are a good cultural fit for my company well before I invite them in for an interview.;

Nikitha Lokareddy,

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Where To Put Major Church Volunteer Work On A Resume

As we have discussed major volunteer work, you can give it a special place in your resume. Make sure that your volunteer job is a major work.

Moreover, it should be relevant to the job you are applying for. For instance, you can say that your volunteer work is major if you have polish your leadership skills, and you are applying for any management post.

However, if you gain leading abilities, but you are applying for an editor job, you will not mention volunteer work here.

So, put your church volunteer in your curriculum vitas work experience section. Dont forget that your volunteer work should be a major job as well as relevant to the desired job. This way, the volunteer work will complement your work history.


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