4 Ideas on Where to Put Volunteer Experience on Your Resume

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 24, 2022 | Published October 18, 2021

Updated November 24, 2022

Published October 18, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Along with your cover letter, a well-written resume offers an opportunity to showcase your qualifications. If you worked as a volunteer, you could use this document to outline your experience contributing to a shared goal. Describing your volunteer experience effectively can show your desire to participate in community activities and improve your chances of getting the job, regardless of the role you're applying for in a company. In this article, we discuss where to put volunteer experience on your resume, explain situations to mention volunteer work, and provide tips to make your resume more compelling by listing your volunteer experience.

Where to put volunteer experience on your resume

If you're creating your application documents, here are various ideas on where to put volunteer experience on your resume:

With your professional experience

You can mention examples of volunteer work you completed in your professional experience section. After listing paid professional roles, you can include volunteer positions and identify them using a "volunteer" label before the job title. For example, you can write "volunteer clerk" on your resume if you assisted a start-up with its clerical duties. This can help employers sort paid roles from volunteer work. Format your volunteer experience professionally, writing the role, company name, and volunteer duration.

Like your professional experience, show the impact of your volunteer experience using numbers. For example, you may describe how many patients you attended to if you volunteered as a healthcare professional. Here's an example of how volunteer experience in your professional experience section might look:

Macintosh Youth Services, Brandon, Manitoba

Volunteer teenage counsellor, May 2021 - June 2021

  • organized and managed group and individual meetings with an average of six teenagers daily

  • trained new volunteers for social work

  • counselled 30 youths by organizing three leadership seminars and training workshops within two months

Related: How To Write Work Experience on Your Resume

In your skills section

You can also connect your volunteer experience with your skills. As you list your volunteer experience, describe tasks you completed that helped you improve your professional skills. Ensure you include only relevant qualities for the position you applied for in a company. Here are some of the most important skills you may develop as a volunteer:

  • Leadership skills: qualities for leading other volunteers or coordinating a volunteer program

  • Communication skills: qualities for exchanging information with volunteers and community members

  • Interpersonal skills: qualities for interacting with individuals or groups impacted by volunteer work

  • Organizational skills: qualities for coordinating and managing volunteer projects

  • Technical skills: qualities learned through training, practice, and education, such as fundraising and teaching

Here is an example of how writing volunteer experience in a skill section might look like:

Fundraising skills

  • organized 10 fundraising events, including local shows, dinners, and internet campaigns as a volunteer fundraiser

  • raised $125,000 for the company during the volunteer experience

  • increased customer engagement by 17% compared to the previous campaign

Read more: What To Include in Your Resume Skills Section

In a separate section after your work experience

Another option is showcasing relevant volunteer work after your professional experience. You can label this section "Related volunteer experience" and follow the professional format for writing experience on your resume. Here is an example of what a volunteer experience section could be like:

Related volunteer experience

Saint Goal Scores, Calgary, Alberta
September 2020 - September 2021

  • created 14 engaging articles for the fast-rising football website as a volunteer writer

  • used SEO to improve website traffic by 29% compared to 2018

  • included online ads to increase funding

  • proofread and edited articles from other volunteer writers

  • trained volunteer writers on the company's writing style and formatting rules

At the end of your resume

When creating your resume, you may also write a brief sentence describing your volunteer experience. Placing your volunteer experience this way is useful when discussing personality traits, why you chose a career path, or transferrable skills you gained from experience. For example, suppose you researched a manufacturing company and found it donates to charities working on sustainable energy products. While you may be applying for a maintenance operator role, you can list volunteer activities you performed for a renewable energy company. Here's an example of how to include your volunteer experience at the end:

Volunteer experience: Post Carbon Organization, Vancouver, Research associate, May 2021 -August 2021

When to include volunteer experience on your resume

Review the following situations when you can describe volunteer work you performed on your resume:

If it's relevant to the job

If you completed volunteer projects related to the position you're applying for, you could include this experience. For example, if you're applying for a managerial role at an insurance company, you can list your experience as a volunteer community manager. Similarly, if you're a doctor, you may describe your volunteer activities as part of a health outreach team. Including your volunteer experience can improve your professional image. Mentioning volunteer work related to your field can also show hiring managers your passion for the role.

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

If you have an employment gap on your resume

While employment gaps may occur, you can show employers how you remained productive by describing your volunteer experience. For example, suppose you changed careers and were looking for an entry-level role for two months. If you worked as a volunteer proofreader during this period, you could outline it on your resume.

Tips for including volunteer experience on your resume

Here are the best practices for describing your volunteer work effectively:

Choose a suitable format

Select an appropriate format for volunteer experience on your resume, depending on your employment history and skill set. Including volunteer experience with your skills typically works when creating a functional resume, which is a resume format that focuses on your skills. If you're starting your career, you can include your volunteer experience within your professional experience section. Creating a sentence at the end of your resume is ideal when discussing volunteer experience that makes you unique. If you have extensive volunteer experience related to the role you're applying for, you may create a separate section for it.

Related: How To Write a Skills-Based Resume

Use keywords from the job description

Review the job posting to discover what employers look for in an ideal candidate. Then, identify keywords to describe your experience, qualifications, and skills on your resume. For example, if you're applying for a supervisory role, you may find keywords, such as "led" and "coordinated," on the job posting and use it to describe your volunteer experience.

Be brief and direct

Regardless of the format you choose, ensure you list your volunteer experience concisely on your resume. You want hiring managers to find the information they need about your volunteer experience by making it brief. For example, suppose you're writing volunteer experience at the end of your resume. In that case, you can include the most important information, such as the position you held, the company name, and the volunteer duration. Ensure the volunteer experience you include accurately describes unpaid roles you held to reach a shared goal.

Read more: Tips for Listing Volunteer Work on Resume (With Examples)

Benefits of volunteerism

Aside from improving your chances of getting a job, here are other reasons engaging in volunteer work may benefit you:

  • Volunteering can bring fulfillment: Volunteer work can help you reach your personal goals, especially when engaging in activities that interest you. For example, your volunteer role may involve your hobbies.

  • Volunteering gives a sense of purpose: Participating in volunteer activities can help you find your purpose and choose a career path. For example, you may discover you enjoy caring for people while volunteering as a nurse assistant.

  • Volunteering promotes good health: Volunteer work can help you maintain your work-life balance and manage stress.

  • Volunteering can help expand your network: By volunteering, you can find new friends, make professional contacts, and build mutually beneficial relationships with other volunteers.

  • Volunteering can help connect with your community: Becoming a volunteer can make you more socially aware. It can also motivate you to participate in community activities, such as advocating for a more sustainable climate.

Now that we've discussed where to put volunteer experience on your resume and explained situations to mention volunteer work, you'll be better prepared to make your resume more compelling by listing your volunteer experience.

The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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