Sunday, September 24, 2023
HomeExclusiveHow To Include Volunteer Experience On Resume

How To Include Volunteer Experience On Resume

How Do You List Volunteer Work On A Resume

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

Volunteer work on a resume can be a wonderful way to feature a variety of valuable skills such as fundraising, community planning, patient care, or event management. Knowing how to properly integrate volunteering on resume into your work experience sectionis key.

Volunteer experience on resume is especially important if you have noticeable employment gaps in your resumedue to the economy or personal circumstance, and shows that you are a passionate and driven individual with a lot to give. With proper placement, volunteering on resume can prove to be beneficial to the overall impact.

Volunteering can also be a way to change careers. If you are looking to make a lateral move in a field related to the one you are in or want to try something completely new, offering your services as a volunteer is a great way to broaden your experience. Organizations seeking volunteers may be more willing to train you or to allow you the freedom to expand your skillset. Documenting volunteer experience on resume can lead to a paying job within the organization, but you will still need a stellar resume.

Now that you have added volunteering on your resume, how do you show it off? There is more than one way to handle it and a lot depends on what you did and what your goal is. Lets take a look at the options.

Tip #: List Achievements Over Responsibilities

When possible, you want to focus more on achievements as opposed to responsibilities in your resume .

Heres what we mean by that:

Lets assume that you have volunteer experience as a research assistant. The responsibilities are pretty obvious – i.e. compiling and distributing questionnaires, collecting and analyzing relevant data, doing statistical and analytical work, etc.

The HR knows all this – theyre reviewed hundreds of similar resumes, all of which mention the same responsibilities.

If you, however, focus on showing how you concretely contributed to the research, by say, pointing out that 50% of the data analyzed by you was used to advance it, youd have told the recruiter something completely new and compelling that makes you stand out.

Focusing on your achievements, when relevant, is your best chance at giving your resume the upper hand.

To give you a more concrete example, though, heres a comparison of achievements done right:

Correct Example:

  • Compiled and distributed qualitative questionnaires with a 90% response rate.
  • Completed 50% of the data analysis later used to advance the projects research.

However, in some industries, you might have fewer achievements to list than in others. If you volunteered at your local homeless shelter, your day-to-day goal probably wasnt to distinguish yourself but help others. If thats the case, listing responsibilities is OK.

Heres how that would look like in your resume:

Correct Example:

Examples Of Volunteer Work In The Experience Section

For certain positions, it’s okay to list the volunteer work in the work history/work experience section of the resume.

Most commonly, the types of jobs where volunteer work is acceptable to place into the work history section is:

  • When applying for a non-profit position.
  • If applying for an academic position.
  • When the job description specifically mentions desiring to see volunteer work.

To do this, this is how your work history section should look:

Work history

John Marketing Company – September 2010 to October 2011

  • Assisted with general marketing procedures.
  • Produced more than 100 marketing campaigns.

Brothers and Sisters of America – January 2010 to February 2010

  • Volunteered as part of the big brother program.
  • Worked closely with 3 children, providing mentorship and leadership.

As you can see in this example, volunteer experience is part of your work history.

You May Like: Where To Put Relevant Coursework On A Resume

Only Include Volunteer Work When Needed

Volunteer work can help provide additional support for a resume that lacks valuable work experience. However, if you have extensive work experience to list that is relevant to potential employers, it may be best to leave volunteer work off of your resume.

Adding volunteer work to your resume may mean sacrificing some resume space for professional work experiences that are more directly connected to your career goals. Employers only spend a few seconds on each resume, so consider carefully whether adding volunteer work will be as beneficial as your professional experience.

Where Should You Place Volunteer Experience On Your Resume

Volunteer Resume Sample &  Writing Guide

There are a few different places where you can include volunteer experience on your resume the placement will really depend on what the rest of your professional experience looks like and your current job goals.

Nine times out of 10, the best place to include your volunteer experience on your resume is within the Professional Experience section. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to fill an employment gap on your resume or you’re currently employed and trying to draw attention away from this fact.

Also Check: How To Draw A Line In Word For Resume

Draw Attention To Accomplishments

Make a list of all of your achievements during your volunteer work, and select your top three or four most important achievements. Describe how you met the goals set by your superiors or new initiatives you introduced. Potential employers may value how driven you’re towards reaching your goals even while doing unpaid work.

How To List Volunteer Work On A Resume When Its Major

Myth: Recruiters and hiring managers often hire candidates with work experience only.


Experience in volunteer work on a resume can help you get hired.

How? Lets find out:

  • 81% of HR executives said that skilled volunteering will be taken into consideration.
  • 76% of respondents believe volunteer experience makes a job candidate more desirable.
  • 81% of hiring managers said that volunteer work would make a college graduate more desirable.


When to put volunteer work under the work Experience Section

If the volunteer experience matches the job you are applying for, then it can count under work experience.

Does your volunteer experience demonstrate valuable skills the job posting seeks?

If yes, then you should list them like a job description on your resume. You can include it when your volunteer experience demonstrates multiple skills the job description wants.

You may add volunteer experiences to your work history section if you have considerable career gaps or sparse employment history. It will help fill in gaps and strengthen that section.


Feeding California | Feb. 2018 Feb 2020

Volunteer Administrator

  • Prepared and served food for about 100-200 pax on weekends
  • Managed a spreadsheet listing charitable donations over $65,000.
  • Recruited at high schools, colleges, and churches to achieve 20 more weekly volunteers

Read Also: How To Insert A Bold Line In Word For Resume

Optional Sections And Resume Formats

You can also include optional sections like volunteer work, awards and achievements, and interests and hobbies. There are a few different resume formats you have to choose from depending on your background:

  • If you have extensive professional experience, this section should always come first in a chronological resume format.
  • If you have gaps in your professional history or do not have any work experience, consider expanding your skills section and placing it under your name and contact information in a functional resume format.
  • If you have a few years of professional experience and relevant skills, the combination resume format might be right for you.

Revise Your Resume For Each Job Application

How to List Volunteer Experience on a Resume

You may need to tailor your resume to each employers required skills, traits and qualifications. Create a personalized version of your resume that works best for each job and matches each job posting by studying the job description. You should also research the company by visiting their Company Page, website and any recent press releases.

Also Check: Resume 2 Pages Or One

If You’re Starting Your Career

When writing a resume with no experience, mentioning volunteer work you completed can show your motivation to succeed. For example, suppose you succeeded as a volunteer sales associate but are looking for a job as a lawyer. In that case, employers may view you as a candidate eager to learn and contribute to company goals. Including your volunteer experience can also help employers gain insights into your skills and how you can fit into the company.

Read more:Writing a Resume With No Experience

How To Incorporate Volunteer Work On Your Cv

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:

Also Check: How To Become A Resume Writer

Volunteering For Career Changers And Workers Reentering The Workforce

Volunteering is one of the best ways to develop and showcase new career skills. Employers won’t really care that you weren’t paid they’ll be much more interested in the fact that you went out and acquired a new skill. It’s a great way to set yourself up for a career change.

Again, remember to list this work as volunteerism and not paid employment. Your experience won’t be minimized, and you’ll be showing employers that you’re not tricking them into thinking this was a job.

Volunteer Work On A Resume Can Help You Change Careers

How to Include Volunteer Experience on Resume: Examples ...

If you are a mid-career or late-career employee looking to change careers, volunteering can help. On your resume, you can include volunteer activities that highlight skills outside of those typically used in your current job. Volunteering can serve as an effective stepping stone in your transition to a new field.

If, for example, you want to get into event marketing, then there are countless ways you can show you are motivated to work in that industry. Non-profits are always in need of good event staff, making volunteering a fantastic way to get your foot in the door. Contact one near you and gain experience that you can add to your resume. For example:

  • Set-up and take-down of events
  • Arrange for speakers and venues
  • Manage volunteers and staff tables
  • Help with outreach

These are all among the experiences sought after by those looking to fill event marketing roles.

Plus, volunteering helps with networking. If you are looking to cross over into another industry, chances are that you need to know more people in it to effectively make that transition. Volunteering introduces you to people who can help you accomplish this.

Recommended Reading: How To Mention Promotion On Resume

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

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.

  • Tags:

Read Also: Sample Actors Resume

Related Volunteer Work On Your Resume

Which types of volunteer work are appropriate for your resume? Find out what related volunteer work you can put on a resume.

Apart from the obvious volunteer work such as a position in a nonprofit organization like a homeless shelter or orphanage, there are many ways a person can volunteer and perhaps not consider it in the same light but adding it on your resume could be a great help to your application.

Take a glance at the following list of possible related volunteer work you could include on your resume either for the experience, knowledge or skills it has given you.

  • Sports Coach
  • Member of a not-for-profit organization
  • Helping at events
  • Offering services for free to neighbors, friends etc.
  • School associations
  • Neighborhood Watch
  • Counseling etc.

Voluntary experiences are nearly always career-enhancing even when it may not be in the exact line of work youre looking for, so dont be afraid to improve your chances at landing that dream job by including your volunteer work on your resume, along with your work experience, contact information, skills, education and resume objective or qualification summary, where you can even make reference to the abilities or certificates gained by your participation.

If you need extra resume help, you could try out an online resume creator or take a look at the other guides available at ResumeCoach for other resume advice from career experts.

Does Volunteer Work Count As Experience

Make your Volunteer Experience Count

Volunteer work is typically unpaid work, and it can feel as though it is not ‘real’ work experience. However, you may likely employ the same professional skill set in a voluntary role as you would in a paid position. Voluntary experience may also be the first step in your career path, meaning it can count as real life work experience. If you’re a student or recent graduate, volunteer work can be a helpful way to show your relevant skills in an industry. You can also add volunteer work to your resume if it relates to your industry or if it helped you gain a relevant skill.

Relevant:What to Include in a Resume

Also Check: How To Use Resume Template In Word 2010

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.

Keep Your Volunteer Experience Short If You Have Other Experience

If you are using volunteer work to stand in for professional historywhich is common if you are a student or a recent gradthen you may want to use a longer description. However, if you already have work experience that you can list on your resume, there is no need to delve too deep into each volunteer position you have held.

Here is an example of a volunteer experience listing on a resume:

Fundraising Volunteer | Local Non-Profit | Oakland, CA | April, 2019

Facilitated the tracking of $5,000 in donations sources from our email campaign and grassroots fundraising efforts.

You May Like: Google Docs Resume Format

Create A Separate Section At The End Of Your Resume For Unrelated Volunteer Experiences

If you have volunteer experiences that are unrelated to your industry, you might consider including a brief volunteer work section at the bottom of your resume if you feel it will set you apart from other candidates or provide helpful context for employers.

For example, if in your company research you find that the employer values hiring and supporting employees with a rich life outside of work, it might be helpful for them to learn about your contributions to a certain non-profit organization that you are passionate about. Another example might be that you started volunteering for a certain cause at a young age that eventually informed your decision to study a certain topic in college or pursue a certain career.

To do this, create a new section at the end of your resume and include your volunteer experiences. While you can format this section the same as your professional work experience section, you can also write a shortened version that takes up less space.

Here is an example of how you might write a shortened volunteer work section:

Volunteer work: ASPCA of Phoenix, Intake Manager, Jan. 2016May 2019 | Big Brothers Big Sisters, June 2017Present

How To Include Volunteer Work On A Resume

Volunteer Resume Samples Template and Tips

Three areas where you can include volunteer work on a resume are:

Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!

Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot

  • In the professional history section
  • In a Volunteer Experience Section
  • In its own section

Read Also: How To Follow Up After Submitting Resume


Most Popular

How To List Gpa On Resume