How To Include Volunteer Experience On A Resume

Let’s face it - first impressions matter. And when it comes to job search, your resume will be the first impression a potential employer will have of you. 

This begs the question: how bởi you make your resume stand out in a pile of job applications? 

You try to make every section count. And a particularly beneficial one to have in this regard is volunteer experience.

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A volunteer experience section can be a great way to showcase your skills if you’re just starting on your career, or even if you have a work experience gap on your CV. It is also an indicator that you are not just any other money-driven applicant, but also someone who cares about giving back lớn the community. 

But what is the best way - and time - khổng lồ include volunteer experience in your resume? That’s exactly what this article will show you.

Read on to lớn find out: 

What is a Resume Volunteer Experience Section?When to lớn Include Volunteer Experience in Your Resume?How to lớn Include Volunteer Experience in Your Resume?How khổng lồ Get Your Volunteer Experience Section Right?

What is a Resume Volunteer Experience Section?

The volunteer experience section of a resume includes any unpaid work you’ve done that could be relevant to lớn your application. In addition to lớn being an effective way khổng lồ showcase your professional skills, it also shows that you are a purpose-driven person. The studies speak for themselves - volunteering can mở cửa a new path khổng lồ employment. 

You can danh mục volunteer experience either under the work experience section or as a separate section entirely. Below, we’re going to lớn explain how, exactly, you can vị both.

But first, here’s an example of how volunteer experience (as a separate resume section) looks like: 


When to lớn Include Volunteer Experience in Your Resume? 

While having a volunteer experience section in your resume can be an asset, it’s not always going to lớn be useful. There’s value in knowing when volunteering can be relevant in improving your chances khổng lồ get hired và when it can be dead-weight.

Here’s our cheat sheet on when to & when not to include volunteer experience in your resume. 

DO include volunteer experience if:
You have extra space on your resume or an employment gap. 

How lớn Include Volunteer Experience In Your Resume

Now that we went over the whens, let’s go over the most important part - how khổng lồ 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 lớn the job you are applying for.You have otherwise little paid experience. 

For example, let’s say you’re applying for a job in Journalism, but you’ve never worked as a professional in the field. However, you have plenty of journalism experience from years of volunteering at your university’s newspaper. 

Here’s what this would look lượt thích in your resume:

Journalism Experience 

Reading Owl Daily

2017 - 2019

Volunteering experience as Reporter for the University’s daily newspaper. Covered the News section, as well as handled copy editing. Kept track of the newspaper’s online presence & updated its WordPress site daily. Wrote a total of 50 interviews for two years. 

Now, when your volunteering experience isn’t specifically related to the job you’re applying for, you’re better off creating a separate volunteer experience section và formatting it just like the work experience section:

Volunteering PositionOrganization You Volunteered ForDatesResponsibilities & Achievements

If you want your unrelated volunteering experience lớn stand out, however, simply listing your responsibilities và achievements won’t do. Instead, you want khổng lồ show how the volunteer experience ties you to the job you are currently applying for.

Confused? Let us cover an example: 

Say that you have been helping at the local animal rescue center for a year, but now you’re applying for a marketing company. Your volunteer experience is not marketing-relevant, but it can be tailored as such.

Here’s how you could vị that:

Volunteer Experience 

Helped develop an online platform for stray animals’ adoption that saved 100+ dogs & cats, on behalf of the Animal Rescue Center.Wrote copy for the online platform & created banners và brochures to advertise it.

Keep in mind, though, that tailoring is not something that you have to vì all the time - volunteering experience is going khổng lồ help whether or not it’s related to your field.

If you can tailor it khổng lồ the job, though, that is, for sure, a big plus.

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Volunteer Experience Section Example

Looking for some inspiration? Look no further!

Here’s what a well-crafted volunteer experience section looks lượt thích on a resume: 

Volunteer Experience

International Federation Red Cross, France

5/2016 - 5/2017

Provided presentations about Red Cross programs in the community. Assisted the fundraising team with writing grant proposals. 

Now, if you’re listing your volunteering experience as part of the work experience section, here’s how it could look like if you were applying for a job in the communications field:

Work Experience

Team London Volunteer 

Mayor of London Office

09/2018 - 08/2019

Supported the implementation of a new external communications strategy.Created a new e-newsletter to tóm tắt with a variety of stakeholders lớn keep them up to lớn date with internal news and to gain new supporters. Generated visual content for the organization’s social truyền thông platform. 

How to Get Your Volunteer Experience Section Right 

There’s more lớn creating a compelling volunteer experience section than just writing it out. Here are our đứng đầu 3 tips on including volunteering in your resume the right way:

Tip #1: Follow the Format. 

As we mentioned before, there is a pretty straightforward format one can follow to menu volunteering experiences.

Here’s what it looks like:

Your position and/or title Company/Organization nameDatesLocationAchievements/Responsibilities Volunteering timeframe 

Tip #2: menu Achievements Over Responsibilities. 

When possible, you want to lớn focus more on achievements as opposed to lớn responsibilities in your resume (and this applies khổng lồ volunteer experience, too).

Here’s what we mean by that:

Let’s assume that you have volunteer experience as a research assistant. The responsibilities are pretty obvious - i.e. Compiling và distributing questionnaires, collecting and analyzing relevant data, doing statistical and analytical work, etc. 

The HR knows all this - they’re reviewed hundreds of similar resumes, all of which mention the same responsibilities.

If you, however, focus on showing how you concretely contributed lớn the research, by say, pointing out that 50% of the data analyzed by you was used to lớn advance it, you’d 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, here’s a comparison of achievements done right: 

Correct Example:
Compiled & distributed qualitative questionnaires with a 90% response rate. Completed 1/2 of the data analysis later used to advance the project’s research. 

However, in some industries, you might have fewer achievements to danh sách than in others. If you volunteered at your local homeless shelter, your day-to-day goal probably wasn’t lớn distinguish yourself but help others. If that’s the case, listing responsibilities is OK. 

Here’s how that would look lượt thích in your resume: 

Correct Example:
Registering homeless people into the shelter.Unpacking và distributing food aids. Oversee opening and closing of the shelter 2 times/week. 

Tip #3: Keep It Relevant

Only mention your volunteering experience if they’re recent and relevant.

For example, if you volunteered 5 years back, & since then you have worked several professional roles in your field, you don’t need to lớn go back in time và mention that volunteering experience (even if it was an amazing learning experience).

In such a case, your volunteering experience is neither recent (it happened 5 years ago), nor relevant (you probably learned a lot more from your recent positions).

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Key takeaways 

And we’re done! By now, you should know everything on how to lớn include volunteering experience in a resume.

Now, let’s recap all the main points we’ve covered:

Volunteer experience can be a huge plus to your job application, especially if you are a recent graduate, have a gap in your resume, or are applying to an NGO. Menu volunteer experience either as a separate section or as work-related experience (if your volunteering experience is related lớn the job you’re applying for). When listing your volunteering experiences, when possible, include achievements over responsibilities. Responsibilities are what put you on the same plate as all other applicants - your achievements are what set you apart!