How to include volunteering experience in your CV? (2023)

A high-quality resume contains relevant information about you and your past professional experience carefully arranged. However, for some reason, people feel intimidated by the idea of ​​putting volunteer experience on their resume.

Just because you didn't get paid doesn't mean the experience wasn't valuable and beneficial to your career. As said byForbesThe volunteering experience can give employers unique insight into their applicants and allow them to broaden their skill set. That's why you should list your volunteering experience on your CV, especially if you're switching from a career in the armed forces to a civilian life. It helps you better understand your capabilities and apply the skills acquired in the military to civilian tasks.

But remember, you have to do it right for it to count. If you're wondering how to put volunteer experience on your resume to stand out from other applicants, just read on.

Here's everything you need to know about listing your volunteer experience correctly on your CV.

What are your options?

How you list your volunteer experience depends on the job you are applying for and the type of volunteer work you have done.

That being said, it's clear that you can't have one generic resume that you keep sending out as you apply for different jobs.

On the contrary, you should:

  • review your resume before applying for any job
  • make changes according to the specific requirements of the position
  • list your volunteer experience accordingly

In order to understand exactly what to look for, we present each of the possible scenarios and help you solve each of them.

(Video) How to Write a Volunteering Section for Your Resume in 2023 [Resume Examples Included]

Let's take a look at the situations you will face.

1. Volunteering in the experience department

As we have discussed, your volunteer experience is just as important as the experience you gain in a paid job. Therefore, it should be treated in the same way.

The first possible scenario you may encounter is as follows:

  • you have volunteer experience closely related to the position you are applying for

It means that:

  • you have acquired the skills necessary to do the job well
  • you didn't pay for it
  • will contribute to your performance in the position you are applying for

That is every reason why you should include this volunteer experience on your listexperienceSection. This is especially important if you have itlittle or no paid experiencebefore or after military service.

Let's look at oneexampleto better understand how to do it.

  • You want to apply for the position of a copywriter in a content marketing company that is looking for the best talent.
  • You have already gained a lot of experience in this field.
  • Your volunteer experience is relevant, valuable and beneficial. Mention it in the experience section.
  • Copywriting experience
    SkySteps, Content Marketing Department

- wrote over 100 SEO optimized blog posts
- brought 25% organic traffic
- Managed brainstorming sessions and project planning strategies
- I worked with over 10 team members in a dynamic, productive atmosphere

Your experience working for SkySteps is very important for your future business ventures. You've learned a lot and can apply that knowledge to the job you're applying for.

(Video) How to build your CV : Job Shadowing & Volunteering to gain work experience

It would be wrong and ineffective to include this experience in the "additional experience" section:

  • worked as a copywriter for SkySteps for 6 months

No one will even consider it valuable if you put it that way.

  • Takeaway: If your volunteer experience has given you skills, knowledge, or insights that you can actively apply to the job you're applying for, list it as work experience.

2. Volunteering in a separate section

The second scenario you may encounter requires a different approach to listing your volunteering experience on your CV.

The situation you may find yourself in is as follows:

  • you have a lot of paid experience, but you also have relevant volunteer experience

A lot of experience, both paid and voluntary, can mess you upcvif you don't specify it correctly. It is important not to miss anything, but to make a clear distinction between actual work experience and volunteer work.

Of course, most employers or recruiting managers will be interested in your work experience in the first place. However, they will also appreciate reading about your volunteer work.

This requires:

  • create a work experience section
  • create a volunteer experience section
  • list all relevant volunteering experiences
  • show how professional, well-informed and experienced you are.

Let's look at anotherexampleto help us understand all this more easily.

(Video) Volunteer Experience - Why and how to Include it on your resume

  • You are applying for the position of an HR specialist. You have already worked in HR and have extensive paid experience as an HR specialist.
  • But before that, you volunteered as an HR intern.
  • This volunteering experience may be less groundbreaking than the paid one, but it shows you started from zero and got to where you are today.
  • Make a good list of this volunteer experience:
  • Volunteer experience

    HR trainee at GroundBreak
    - Support of HR specialists and managers
    - kept personal files
    - pre-checked apps

This volunteering experience has made you who you are today and this should be reflected in your CV.

Don't skip it just because you have paid experience that might be "more important". Let recruiting managers decide.

  • Takeaway: If you have adequate paid experience, but also relevant volunteer experience, don't leave anything behind. Break it up into another section, but list everything.

3. Volunteering to gain additional experience

Finally, there is one more scenario you might encounter when listing your volunteering experience on your CV:

  • you have volunteering experience not directly related to the job you are applying for

Does that mean you should leave it?

Absolutely not.

Lindsey Cohen, Recruitment Specialist forRanking of the best writerscommon:"Just because the volunteer experience is unrelated to the job you're applying for doesn't mean it's not valuable to the hiring manager reading your resume."

In a pile of 100 resumes that all look the same, your children's hospital volunteering may catch the attention of the hiring manager and give you an interview opportunity.

(Video) How to Market Your Volunteer Experience on Your Resume

It means that:

  • you must mention your volunteering experience, regardless of its direct connection to a potential job
  • you shouldn't leave anything
  • you can count on a volunteering experience that will make you more likeable or different than other candidates.

There's one hereexampleto illustrate it.

  • You are applying for the position of a graphic designer.
  • You have already listed your paid work experience and relevant volunteer experience.
  • However, more can be said about your previous experiences.
  • Create an "Additional Experience" section and list your other volunteering experiences accordingly.
  • Additional experience


    for 3 years she was a volunteer at the Children's Hospital of St. Marcin, working with a team of 14 volunteers, organizing and managing fundraisers, activities for children and family support groups.

When the recruiting manager reads this interesting fact about you, he will definitely remember you and form a more detailed opinion about you. Consequently, this will separate you from many other candidates with similar resumes.

  • Takeaway: Just because a volunteer experience isn't directly related to your potential job doesn't mean you should skip it. Mention this in a separate section.

Why volunteering?

Volunteering is more than just working for free to climb the corporate ladder. On the contrary, it is a valuable experience that benefits your personality and makes you a better person.

Here are the main advantages of volunteering:

  • developing empathy for others
  • contribute to the development of the local community or do something for a greater cause
  • helping others selflessly
  • gaining professional experience and acquiring new skills
  • have a purpose
  • have something really valuable to write on your resume

According toForbes, “60% of recruiting managers see volunteering as a valuable asset when making hiring decisions”.

So don't hesitate to invest your time and energy in something that isn't necessarily strictly a professional journey.

(Video) Should You Have a Volunteering Experience Section on Your CV? | How To Write A Volunteering Section

Use volunteering to learn more about yourself, help others and increase your self-esteem.

Final thoughts

Volunteer experience is valuable, especially if you are looking for a job after leaving the armed forces. Hiring managers and potential employers respect this and may consider it as important as the paid experience you've had. That said, it's more than obvious that you shouldnever leave out volunteering experience on your resume.

You have to be careful how you sum it up. Take the tips we listed above and apply them to your resume today. Think carefully about each of these points and decide where and how you want to list your volunteering experience on your resume.


How to include volunteering experience in your CV? ›

Create a section for work experience at the top of your resume. Title the section clearly, e.g. 'Work and Volunteering Experience' or 'Professional and Volunteer Experience. ' List all of your experience — both paid and volunteer — in chronological order, with the most recent experience first.

How do you put volunteer experience on a CV? ›

How to list volunteer experience on a CV
  1. Include volunteer work in your experience section. ...
  2. Connect volunteer experience to your skills. ...
  3. Create a separate section for unrelated volunteer experiences. ...
  4. Example 2. ...
  5. Include keywords from the job posting. ...
  6. Only include volunteer work when needed.
Feb 13, 2023

Does volunteering look good on CV? ›

Volunteering can help you gain valuable new skills and experiences, that you might not usually have done otherwise. These skills can be transferred across to your CV and job applications to give you a better chance at securing the jobs you want.

Where does volunteer experience go on a CV? ›

You'll usually want to feature your most relevant professional experience at the top of your resume, which means your volunteer experience should go toward the bottom (after your professional experience, but before your education and skills section).

How do you say you're passionate about volunteering? ›

Example: "I became interested in the childcare field when I was a college student. During the break after my first semester, I volunteered at a summer camp for young children and found it very rewarding. I enjoyed the challenge of helping the children in my care learn new skills and grow in confidence.

How do you describe someone who volunteers a lot? ›

altruistic Add to list Share. Someone who is altruistic always puts others first.

Do employers actually care about volunteering? ›

You may have altruistic reasons for volunteering, but giving your time has career-enhancing power, too. A hiring manager absolutely loves to see candidates who have volunteer work on a resume.

Should a CV be totally honest? ›

It's the first piece of information a potential employer has about you, so it's best to be honest and accurate. Unfortunately, in their eagerness to get a dream job, many applicants sometimes embellish or exaggerate their resumes—usually either in their job history or level of education.

When should you not put volunteer work on your resume? ›

However, if you already have years of relevant work experience or if your volunteer work isn't related at all to the position you want, then it's best to leave it off your resume.

How long should a CV be? ›

How long should your CV be? Unless you're applying for an entry-level position, two pages is widely considered to be the perfect length for a CV. However, that's not to say writing a two-page CV should be your goal. Always strive to incorporate only the most relevant facts.

What is the difference between a resume and a CV? ›

The CV presents a full history of your academic credentials, so the length of the document is variable. In contrast, a resume presents a concise picture of your skills and qualifications for a specific position, so length tends to be shorter and dictated by years of experience (generally 1-2 pages).

Can a resume be 2 pages? ›

You can use a two-page resume if you have an extensive work history of over 10-15 years or if you're applying for an executive position. If you're a student or entry-level applicant, your best bet is to use a one-page resume.

What can I say instead of passionate on my CV? ›

Try these instead: Self-starter: enthusiastic, inspired, motivated, zealous. Go-getter: ambitious, aspiring, determined, industrious, passionate.

What should I say for reason for volunteering? ›

See a list of reasons that will help you make up your mind.
  • 10: It's good for you. ...
  • 9: It saves resources. ...
  • 8: Volunteers gain professional experience. ...
  • 7: It brings people together. ...
  • 6: It promotes personal growth and self esteem. ...
  • 5: Volunteering strengthens your community. ...
  • 4: You learn a lot.

Why is volunteering a valuable experience? ›

Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity.

What are the top 3 strengths that employers look for? ›

The top 5 skills employers look for include:
  • Critical thinking and problem solving.
  • Teamwork and collaboration.
  • Professionalism and strong work ethic.
  • Oral and written communications skills.
  • Leadership.

Should you just list skills on CV? ›

Most job seekers place the key skills section at the front of the CV, after the profile and before the career history section. The reason for placing key skills so prominently is to show the reader early on that you have the right areas of expertise.

Do you just list skills on a CV? ›

Skills are a vital part of your CV. They are key to showing an employer that you are qualified to do the job and they're also a ticket to being ranked highly by the applicant tracking system.

What are the 3 main characteristics of volunteer? ›

To sum up what makes a good volunteer, looking for volunteers who are passionate, reliable, team players, patient, creative, energetic, positive, willing to help, compassionate and organised will ensure they are great assets to your team.

What's another way to say volunteer work? ›

What is another word for volunteer?
subsidizeUSchip in
put forwardput up
bring forwardgive away
227 more rows

What's another word for volunteering? ›

put forward. stand up. submit oneself. take bull by the horns. take initiative.

What is the downside negative side of volunteering? ›

Some people might find their volunteer position to be emotionally tiring. Volunteers who work with populations such as sheltered animals, the elderly or children might find themselves emotionally attached to the people or animals they serve.

Should you put volunteer work as employment history? ›

Yes, you can put volunteer work for employment history on your resume. If you have little or no paid work experience, including volunteer work on your resume helps the hiring manager better assess you as a candidate. However, you should only include volunteer work that's relevant to your target job.

Is volunteering at work with coworkers a good thing? ›

Volunteering is one of the best ways to form new relationships with coworkers and further develop existing ones. Working together on meaningful activities can foster a sense of comradery and cultivate deeper connections than could those standardly formed within an office.

What is the most common CV mistakes? ›

Proofreading is the last step in making sure that your CV is free of error and ready to send. The most common mistakes you should look out for are spelling mistakes, wrong sentence structure, typos, punctuation errors, and bad grammar.

What phrases should you avoid on a CV? ›

Words you shouldn't use in your CV
  • Flexible.
  • Motivated.
  • Strong work ethic.
  • Multi-tasker.
  • Independent.
  • Detail oriented.
  • Self-motivated.

Which of these phrases should you avoid in your CV? ›

What phrases should I avoid on my CV?
  • “ References Available Upon Request” ...
  • “ Resume” ...
  • “ Duties Included” ...
  • Personal Data. Only your email, phone number, and address are needed in your resume. ...
  • Obvious Skills. ...
  • Employer Contact Information. ...
  • “ ...
  • “Professional.”

Should I include volunteer experience from 10 years ago? ›

You completed the volunteer work more than 10 years ago. Consider excluding volunteer experience from more than 10 years ago so that you can highlight more recent qualifications.

Can I put 1 day volunteer on resume? ›

Including volunteer work on your resume can help employers learn about your interests and experience—especially if you have limited professional experience. You can include volunteer experience in your professional experience section, skill section or in a separate volunteer section.

How far back should a resume go? ›

Generally, experts recommend keeping about 10-15 years of work experience on your resume, but that guidance changes depending on your professional history. Your resume is one of the first things a potential employer sees about you.

What is the best font for a CV? ›

The most common CV font is black Times New Roman set at 12 points in size. Other good serif CV fonts, those that have tails, include Cambria, Georgia, Garamond, Book Antiqua, and Didot. Good sans serif CV fonts, those without tails, include Calibri, Helvetica, Verdana, Trebuchet MS and Lato.

What is the most interesting thing about you that is not on your resume CV? ›

The perfect answer to the “tell me something about yourself not on your resume” interview question is short and positive. Avoid negatives or unrelated personal stories. Focus on your strengths, on why you want the job, or on something great about the company.

Do employers prefer CV or resume? ›

When applying for most jobs in the U.S., a resume works best. You simply want to give the potential employer a reason to interview you. Applying for positions in the academic, research, scientific, and medical fields may require a CV rather than a resume.

What are the usual mistakes people make in their resumes? ›

11 Common CV Mistakes According to Employers
  • Having spelling errors and bad grammar. ...
  • Exaggerating the truth. ...
  • Poor formatting. ...
  • An unoriginal personal profile. ...
  • Not focusing on your achievements. ...
  • Making your CV too long. ...
  • Putting the wrong contact information. ...
  • Not tailoring your CV to the specific role.

How is a CV supposed to look like? ›

The essential information on your CV includes: contact information, CV summary or objective, work experience, education, and skills. Optional sections may include: certifications and awards, languages, hobbies, interests, and any relevant social media channels.

What should a resume look like in 2023? ›

For the majority of job-seekers, the best resume format in 2023 is the reverse-chronological resume format. This resume format involves listing your resume information (e.g. your work experience and your education) starting with the most recent one and going backward through relevant jobs, degrees, or qualifications.

Should you put your address on your resume? ›

Should you put your address on your resume? It's optional. In certain situations, including it could be helpful, but leaving it out won't get you rejected. Put the city and zip code of the employer in your professional summary if you're really concerned about being rejected by the ATS.

How many bullets should you have on a resume? ›

A good benchmark is between 3-5 bullet points per job. However, you can use as few as 2 bullet points or as many as 12 bullet points for each position as long as it's relevant to the job description. The number of bullet points you use typically depends on: Years of work experience.

How can I spice up my CV? ›

7 Simple But Effective Ways to Make Your CV Stand Out
  1. Start strong. Start with a summary of your skills and key accomplishments. ...
  2. Emphasize results rather than responsibilities. ...
  3. Customize for the job you want. ...
  4. Highlight changes and growth. ...
  5. Demonstrate that you are connected. ...
  6. Show industry insight. ...
  7. Use power words.

How do you show your enthusiasm on a CV? ›

Use power verbs

Doing so not only demonstrates your achievements and how you added real value in the past but also shows your drive and enthusiasm. So, consider using words like led, developed, created, designed, managed, outperformed, introduced, motivated, improved, and influenced.

What is a professional word for self starter? ›

Self-starter: enthusiastic, inspired, motivated, zealous. Go-getter: ambitious, aspiring, determined, industrious, passionate.

What is a famous saying about volunteering? ›

Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.” “Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation's compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another.”

How would you describe yourself as a volunteer? ›

For example, “I describe my style as very service-oriented because I want to help others to develop their own leadership skills. My extensive volunteer work has helped me to master that balance between being accountable for creating impact and creating opportunities for others to shine.”

Will volunteering build my resume? ›

Volunteering can give your resume that extra boost that makes you stand out from the rest of the pack. It can also help you develop skills that will make you a good fit for any office culture.

What skills can you gain from volunteering? ›

Interpersonal communication, time management, leadership, delegation, communication, leadership and problem-solving are a few transferable skills that you can develop through your volunteer work.

Is volunteering considered a skill? ›

Along with contributing to your community, volunteering experience is a great way to stand out to employers. It shows that you are willing to help others, exhibiting teamwork skills and compassion. Many of the skills you develop as a volunteer may also be relevant to your career.

Does volunteering look good on CV reddit? ›

It'll boost your skills and make you look like a go-getter to recruiters. Source: I'm a recruiter & recent volunteer work on a resume shows they aren't just waiting around for a new job unlike the other five thousand resumes submitted for that same position.

Does volunteering for a job look better for college? ›

A recent survey of 264 admissions office leaders at private and public U.S. colleges found that: Fifty-eight percent of respondents agreed that “a student's community service experience has a positive impact on his or her acceptance to our higher education institution.

What employers look for on CV? ›

What employers and recruiters look for in a CV
  • Roles and responsibilities. ...
  • Experience. ...
  • Skills. ...
  • Results and achievements. ...
  • Education. ...
  • Easy to read. ...
  • No inconsistencies. ...
  • Relevant language.

What do employers look for in a good CV? ›

A good CV shares these qualities: Your CV spells out you have the skills required for the job. Your CV demonstrates you understand the employer's objectives and are motivated to deliver them. Your CV highlights you have a track record of delivering results for your employers.

Does it matter what your CV looks like? ›

CV Formatting is extremely important and can quite literally make the difference between getting an interview or not getting an interview. Check out our example CVs to see full 2 page examples of well structured CVs with annotation, or view our best CV templates and Word CV templates.

What is an impressive number of volunteer hours? ›

As a rough guideline, 50 to 200 hours is going to sound impressive to colleges and show that you are committed to helping your community. Animal shelters, hospitals, elderly homes, and food banks are great places.

How many volunteer hours is impressive for college? ›

The consensus is that the ideal amount of volunteer hours you should have for a college application is between 50 to 200 hours. With fewer than 50 hours of volunteer work, college admissions officers may draw the conclusion that you were not committed enough to a cause to commit a substantial amount of time to it.

How many volunteer hours do you need to get into Harvard? ›

How many volunteer hours matter to an Ivy? Well, approximately 50 – 200 hours is impressive. Do not focus so much on volunteer work hours. Note: When applying to the Ivy League, the important thing is to strike a balance on all areas of the application.


1. How to List Volunteer Experience on a Resume
2. Resume Work & Volunteer Section How To
(Kerry Sorensen)
3. Use Your Volunteer Work As Work Experience | Volunteer Experience | Resume Tip | DrHamariaC
4. Adding Volunteer Experience to Your Resume
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5. Volunteer Experience On Your Resume
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6. How to show volunteering on your CV | Presenting Social Action on your CV
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