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Written by Susan ShorSusan Shor

How to list volunteer work on your resume

14 min read
How to list volunteer work on your resume
Volunteer work can be a wonderful way to feature a variety of valuable skills, Here's a list of how to add volunteer work to your resume.

Good for you for giving back to the community! Volunteering can be a rewarding experience for all concerned. You can choose issues that matter to you and volunteer work on resume is a great way of supplementing your career story. Plus, you may get the opportunity to learn new skills or showcase the skills you have in new ways and it shows employers that you care about the world around you.

However, there is more to listing volunteer work on your resume than meets the eye. We explore:

  • How and where to list volunteer work on your resume
  • Why volunteer experience on resume can be so impactful
  • How to show proof of volunteering on your resume
  • Why volunteering on resume should be truthfully reported

Volunteering is a valid part of anyone's career. Just because you may not have been paid does not mean that the experiences did not add to your career progression. Let's explore the nuances.

How do you List Volunteer Work on a 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 section is key. 

Volunteer experience on resume is especially important if you have noticeable employment gaps in your resume due 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.

Expert tip

Can you list volunteer work as employment? While volunteer work on your resume should be described as such and should not be listed as paid employment, it is still valid to include in in your career history on your resume. If you spent a significant amount of time doing volunteer work alongside paid work, you might decide to include it in the employment history section and if there are a number of volunteer roles, then making a separate section will certainly add to your apllication.

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. Let’s take a look at the options.

Where to List Volunteer Work on Your Resume

If a volunteer position is related to your industry and relevant to your job search, then you can certainly mix it right into your Employment History section. Whether or not you are paid for a position is not the impressive part. The substance of the position and what it entails is what remains important, whether it is a paid or volunteer position. So if you are in Business Management or Finance, you might add a volunteer section on resume that looks something like the one below. What are examples of volunteering?

Fundraising Experience


Volunteer Fundraiser, Citizens for a Cause, New York, New York, May 2013-June 2015 

  • Planned, coordinated, and carried out all fundraising events relating to Diabetes Awareness and Alzheimer's Prevention.
  • Hosted several successful fundraising events including an art auction, wine tasting event, and holiday concert which generated over 1K in revenue for multiple causes.

If the volunteer experience on resume is unrelated to your job it is best to create a separate section for volunteer work or community involvement below the work section. Even if your position is not closely related to your industry or skills needed for the type of position you are seeking, it still shows you are a well-rounded person with varying interests and a dedication to community involvement. This kind of implementation could look something like the one below.

Listing Other Volunteer Experience on Resume

If the volunteer work is unrelated to your job, it is best to create a separate volunteer section on resume for volunteer work or community involvement below your Employment History section. Even if your position is not closely related to your industry or the skills needed for the type of position you are seeking, it still shows you are a well-rounded person with varying interests and a dedication to community involvement. 

What are some good volunteer ideas? Choose the jobs you list carefully to take advantage of your limited space since you will have an extra section on your resume. There is no need to list jobs from more than ten years ago unless they are directly related to the job you are applying for now.

Expert tip

Can I lie about volunteer work on resume? Can you fake volunteer hours? No. Never lie about anything during your job search. Apart from it simply being dishonest, you never quite know who has certain connections. If person reading your resume at a potential employer knows someone at the place where you "volunteered," kiss goodbye to any chance of you getting the job. Lying about your work experience can get you the sack at a later date and lying about volunteer experience is equally morally wrong. I feel a little silly even mentioning it. Of course, you wouldn't do this.

If you are trying to accomplish a career change, you should list the volunteering on resume that directly relates to your desired career first. Employers want to see that you have the skills necessary to do the job and the best way to do that is to show that you have already done many of the tasks associated with the position. In this case, you may choose to create a separate section or incorporate your volunteer experience on resume into employment history. 

Volunteering experience on a resume can also help explain an employment gap. If you were volunteering when between jobs, consider placing your unpaid work in your Employment History to eliminate the appearance of inaction.

This kind of implementation could look something like the one below.

Volunteer, Children's Art Counsel, Rhinebeck, NY, March 2012 to Present 

  • Helped plan and promote Art classes for youth in the Rhinebeck community.
  • Interviewed and recruited Art Teachers and trained them in facility protocol.
  • Researched and planned Art curricula for the year.

Add Volunteering in the Summary and Skills Sections

Your summary or personal statement is a perfect place to explain your volunteering experience and how it has helped prepare you for your next challenge. Try to do it in one sentence since your space here is limited to about 100 words.

Don’t neglect the volunteer experience on your resume in your Skills Section , either, especially if they are rare or higher-level skills that give you an advantage over other candidates. Make sure you personalize these sections for each application and use resume keywords and phrases that you take from the job listing. Below is an example of volunteering on resume that has seamlessly combined work and volunteer experiences.

Expert tip

How do I show proof of volunteer work? How do I write a volunteer verification letter? Sometimes, future employers might ask for proof of the volunteer experience on resume. As you may not have had a formal contract of employment, it is often a good idea to ask for a volunteer verification letter or community service letter from where you volunteered. You may not have considered this important at the time, but it is perfectly acceptable to contact a place where you used to volunteer and ask them for a confirmation for the purposes of your job search. You can write a volunteer letter yourself and ask them to sign it if you need to save time.

Volunteering Resume Example

Putting volunteering on resume is becoming increasingly commonplace, it can easily sit alongside your paid experience and there is equal value in terms of the experience that you offer your future employer. In your bid to present yourself as a well-rounded applicant, it might be even be considered an essential addition.

Experienced and driven Content Marketing Specialist with over six years of experience creating compelling content across multiple media platforms. A passion for detail oriented and creative writing, and the ability to adapt content messages for multiple audiences across multiple platforms. Accustomed to high level of responsibilities including creating content for a company's websites, infographics, webinars, videos, and articles. Passionate about delivering entertaining and captivating content with an unobstructed path toward achievement.

February 2013- Present
Content Marketing Associate, Better Homes and Gardens, New York, New York

  • Produced compelling content for a variety of channels including editorial spreads, blog posts, Facebook, email, and our website.
  • Analyzed past marketing initiatives and revamped the company's marketing efforts to keep readers and attract new ones.
  • Successfully restructured our online presence, giving it a fresh and new feel.
  • Worked to establish a more cohesive brand that clearly emanates the mission of the company.
  • Aim to provide readers with valuable information, unique tools, lifestyle trends, and valuable content.
  • Oversaw direct marketing trends that reached upwards of 100 million consumers.

Apr. 2011 – Feb 2013
Web Content Assistant, Better Homes and Gardens New York, New York

  • Assisted Content Marketing Associates with all administrative duties associated with web content.
  • Contributed to brainstorming sessions involving the design, conception, and creation of new digital content.
  • Took to all social media platforms to disperse content and news.
  • Adapted communication style to the project goals and audience.
  • Constantly searched for new opportunities to engage new audiences.
  • Responded to feedback from coworkers and superiors, and worked in an entirely collaborative spirit.
  • Assisted with evaluating the impact of communications and social media programs.

Volunteer Experience

January 2008-Present 
Katonah Community Shepherds

  • Mentor high school students as they embark on their search for a college.

Why List Volunteer Work on Your Resume Again?

Listing volunteer work on your resume can only make your job application stronger. Does volunteering increase employability? Yes, absolutely! Do employers look for volunteering experience? Quite possibly. While resume real estate is at a premium, it is important that this volunteer work complements and adds to your application and is relevant to the role in question. If it is not relevant, then you should consider not including it after all. Having said this, there are multiple benefits that can benefit any job application:

  • You will be seen as a community-minded and team-oriented employee
  • Volunteering on resume can be a useful distraction from gaps in your employment record.
  • Volunteer experience on resume can showcase skills that are not in your employment history.
  • If you want to change careers, volunteering on resume can show that you are keen on the change.
Do
  • Use volunteer work that is relevant to the role or the organisation, and adds some value
  • Treat it like a job. You are doing the work, and therefore have obtained the skills, even if it is not paid work.
Don't
  • List the volunteer work if it was only for a day, only add it if you have obtained some experience/skills.
  • Forget to add keywords to the volunteer section, if you do decide to add it.

It is easy to list volunteer work on your resume when you use one of our resume templates - have a go. You might be surprised at just how easy and intuitive it is to create a powerful and inspirational resume.

Build your resume in 15 minutes
Build your resume in 15 minutes
Use professional field-tested resume templates that follow the exact ‘resume rules’ employers look for.
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Build your resume in 15 minutes
Build your resume in 15 minutes
Use professional field-tested resume templates that follow the exact ‘resume rules’ employers look for.
Create My Resume
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