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Written by Susan ShorSusan Shor

Volunteer CV Examples & UK Templates

A proven job specific CV example + writing guide for landing your next job in 2024. You can edit this Volunteer CV example to get a quick start and easily build a perfect CV in just a few minutes. Just fill in your details, download your new CV & start your job application today!
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Volunteer CV Examples & UK Templates
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Giving to your community could be more than a rewarding pastime. In fact, volunteering could be giving something back to you. According to the Royal Voluntary Service, volunteers were 25% more likely to report improved health. But to land the volunteer opportunity of your dreams, a well-written volunteer CV could be the key.

Since volunteers can be of any age and from any background, you could find yourself working alongside people of varying levels of experience. Are you a student looking to gain some experience? Or a seasoned professional wanting to give back? Wherever you fall on the spectrum, you’re sure to have something to offer. Yet when it comes to communicating that on your CV, it’s totally natural to feel a bit like a fish out of water. That’s where we want to help!

Resume.io has helped job and work experience seekers with CV guides and CV examples for dozens of professions. We can help you to prepare — and even polish, with the help of our handy CV builder — a CV that sells your value and your skills.

This CV guide, along with the corresponding CV example will cover the following topics:

  • What does a volunteer do?
  • How to write a volunteer CV (tips and tricks)
  • The best format for a volunteer CV
  • Advice on each section of your CV (summary, work history, education, skills)
  • Professional CV layout and design hints.

What does a volunteer do?

As a volunteer, you give your time to activities that benefit others. Volunteering opportunities are as varied as the causes that need support. The type of volunteer experience you’re pursuing could be formal and structured or in a more informal capacity within the local community. 

Just remember that volunteers are not covered by employment law. While volunteer positions are unpaid, it can boost your CV with real work-life experience which can lend itself towards landing your first job. Or it could even allow you to shift gears and pursue a new career path. It’s also an excellent networking opportunity. Not to mention, there are plenty of good causes out there that need help and support from capable individuals like you.

Expert tip

Limitless places to volunteer

A 2023 report by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) showed that the most common place to volunteer is now online or over the phone.  

There’s more good news: in 2022, the NCVO’s data showed that remote volunteering also hasn’t impacted volunteer satisfaction.

Woman were found to be more likely to have taken part in regular volunteering than men
Woman were found to be more likely to have taken part in regular volunteering than men

How to write a volunteer CV

The very first step in writing your volunteer CV is understanding what sections to include. Your CV should contain the following elements:

  • The CV header
  • The CV summary (aka profile or personal statement)
  • The employment history section
  • The CV skills section
  • The education section

While many organisations are simply pleased to have the offer of some help, you should still consider how you will present your profile in your CV. Take some time researching the organisation where you are applying to volunteer. This will help you to strategise how you are going to fill out each section of the document. Which of your previous experiences will be most pertinent and impressive for them?

Your goal is to use your CV to paint a picture of why you have a profile that could add value, specifically to the type of activities you want to help with. After all, just because it’s not a paid role doesn’t mean they want to let just anyone into their team.

Expert tip

Optimise for the ATS

If you are applying to work at a large non-profit or organisation, it’s possible that volunteer applications will be filtered by an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). That means that before a human volunteer manager sees your CV, it will be filtered by an algorithm according to the presence of relevant keywords.

Choosing the best CV format for a volunteer

For most profiles, the ideal CV format is reverse chronological. This format focuses on your employment history. Volunteers without many professional roles under their belt can write about their unpaid work experience. Or they can explore an alternate format such as the functional CV format.

Technical and scientific roles often favour the functional CV format, which emphasises specific skills over work history. For a balanced approach, the combination or hybrid CV format combines both, which would be suitable for many types of volunteer roles. You can better consider what the best CV format for you is in our dedicated guide.

CV header

A clear and personalised CV header can be a great way to make a good impression. As well as needing to be reader-friendly, it is also an opportunity to brand your CV based on the type of volunteering you want to do. So, remember to make sure your CV header includes your name, your title, and your contact details. 

CV summary example: your compassionate contributions

Your CV summary or profile typically appears just beneath the header. The summary should give the organisation a snapshot of the kind of volunteer that you could be. This is done by summarising your key experiences and traits that you would bring to the role.

The summary should be three to four sentences that focus on your key accomplishments and experience in the context of this particular volunteering role. If you’re struggling to think of good material, consider responsibilities you’ve carried out and accomplishments you’ve demonstrated that align with the tasks that would be asked of you in this volunteering role. Alternatively, you can lean on any type of experience you’ve had in a similar sector. 

The CV sample content below is a good place to start when deciding how to craft your CV summary. 

Adaptable CV summary example

Dedicated and passionate volunteer with over five years of experience serving in diverse community-focused roles. Demonstrate a strong commitment to promoting welfare and betterment, coupled with a deep understanding of unique needs of various groups.

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Employment history sample: your philanthropic past

While the employment history section on a traditional CV is reserved for just that, it’s acceptable on a volunteer CV to include unpaid work experience. Feel free to rename this section “Previous experience” or similar, in order to more accurately label the section.

Expert tip

If you have many voluntary and professional experiences to mention, consider splitting your experience into two sections. One can detail your professional employment history and the other can be reserved just for your experience as a volunteer.

So, just how do you fill out this section? Just like an enriching experience as a volunteer, your life is sure to have been full of experiences that make you the skilled and compassionate person that you are. Think about the best experiences in your past that communicate this and list them in reverse chronological order. 

For each experience, create a subheading with the role title, the organisation where it was carried out, the dates of engagement, and location. You can list bullet points that detail your responsibilities and achievements during your time in the role.

Remember to focus on making your bullet points vivid and clearly detail the contribution that you made. If you’re stuck on what to write, think about the results you’ve achieved in specific work projects. Or consider the best examples of tasks you carried out that accurately frame the skills  you gained. Use strong action verbs and quantify your achievements with numbers to communicate the part you played vividly and succinctly.

Statistical insight

Just how many people are volunteering? 

Data on those partaking in voluntary activities showed that in 2021/2022, around 55% of people in England reported having volunteered at least once the previous year and 34% reported volunteering at least once a month.

As well as getting inspiration from the CV sample content below, Resume.io has plenty of CV examples to get the ideas flowing. Consider checking out our:

Adaptable CV employment history example

Volunteer Coordinator at Oxfam, Manchester, UK 
June 2021 - Present 

  • Assist in shop tasks including cashier duties, stocking, and inventory checks.
  • Coordinate and train new volunteers for various roles within shop.
  • Manage volunteer schedules and organise team-building events.

 

Community Outreach Volunteer at The Mustard Tree, Manchester, UK 
September 2019 - May 2021 

  • Organized and participated in outreach events to assist the homeless population.
  • Distributed food and essentials, and provided information on available support.
  • Collaborated with a team to ensure smooth operations during events.
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CV skills example: caring and competent

A carefully considered skills section is just as much about telling the organisation who you are as it is telling them about what you’ve done. An effective skills section for a volunteer CV will include a balanced mix of soft skills and hard skills.

While the hard skills will tell you more about the competencies you can contribute to the organisation, your soft skills are much more about how you carry out tasks. In fact, it can get right down to the core of who you are as a person. 

Your organisational skills, compassion, or problem solving are examples of soft skills that are equally as important as any hard skill that you can bring to the table. Examples of technical or hard skills can range from language skills, to first aid knowledge or research know-how and much more.

Adaptable CV skills example section
  • Event Coordination
  • Team Coordination & Leadership
  • Bi-lingual in French & English
  • MS Office Suite
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Retail
  • Cash Handling & POS
  • Customer Service
  • Inventory & Stock
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Volunteer CV education example

While your schooling may not be the focus of your volunteer CV, it’s still useful for the organisation to understand your educational background. List subheadings for each entry in this section in reverse chronological order. Each should correspond to a formal education qualification. 

For each subheading you should include the education institution’s name, location, dates attended, and most importantly the name of your qualification.

Adaptable education CV example

BSc (Hons) in Sociology, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK 
2017 - 2020 

  • Achieved a 2:1. Relevant coursework: Community Development, Social Structures, and Volunteerism.


Manchester High School for Girls, Manchester, UK 
2014 — 2016 

  • A-Levels: English (A), Sociology (B), History (B)
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Medical fact about volunteering
Medical fact about volunteering

CV layout and design: first impressions

Your CV design is part of the visual communication of the document. Just like the carefully curated content of your volunteer CV, make sure your CV’s layout is equally as clear and intuitive to understand. 

The best way to do this is to opt for a simple and cohesive colour scheme and no more than two fonts. Leave space between each section, but try not to end up with a CV document that’s longer than one or two pages. Finally, export and share your CV in a PDF format.

If you’re not quite sure how to go about implementing these tips, then you can consider using one of our field-tested CV templates.

Key takeaways for a volunteer CV

  1. As a volunteer you can expect to receive some great benefits just from the act of giving back.
  2. Your volunteer CV example needs a strong summary to clearly communicate the value that you can bring.
  3. You can separate your professional and volunteer experience into two separate sections, or combine them as one if you’re still gaining experience.
  4. Don’t forget to put equal consideration into the visuals of your volunteer CV.
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