How To Add Volunteer Work On A Resume (With Examples And Tips)

Updated 18 March 2023

Adding volunteer work to your resume may increase the likelihood of an employer believing you are a good fit for a position. Regardless of the role you are applying for, listing your volunteer background can highlight important skills and a willingness to get involved in the local community. If you want to add your volunteer experience to your resume, it is important to first understand how to effectively incorporate that information into the rest of your job application.

In this article, we discuss four methods for putting volunteer work on your resume and provide tips on how to add volunteer work to this professional document.

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When To Include Volunteer Work On A Resume

There are typically three situations where including volunteer work on a resume may improve your chances of a prospective employer considering you a good fit for their open position. When deciding if you should add volunteer experience to your resume, consider these factors:


Think about adding volunteer work to your resume if that volunteer experience directly relates to the job you hope to get. If you have volunteer experience within your role or connected to your field, then the prospective employer may consider it as part of your professional experience and history. Having volunteer work in a relevant field may also show the hiring manager that you have a passion for that particular role, charitable cause or industry.

Professional experience

Adding volunteer work to your resume can improve your odds of getting a job when you have minimal professional experience. Volunteer experiences can demonstrate that you possess soft skills that many employers value in their employees. Soft skills are behaviours and personality traits, such as organisation and communication, that can affect your performance at work. Adding volunteer experience to your resume when you have minimal relevant professional experience can also show hiring managers your willingness to learn new skills and take on different responsibilities.

Related: How To Describe Volunteer Experience In An Interview

Gaps in professional history

Gaps in your professional history refer to time periods when you didn't have an active employment contract or status at a business. Since most resumes include the dates of your employment in each of your previous or current roles, a hiring manager may notice if there are employment gaps on your resume. Adding volunteer work in a resume that includes gaps can show the potential employer that you remained busy and continued honing your skills during the time you didn't have a paid position.

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Type of organisation

Look at the structure of the organisation that you are applying to and consider the relevance of your volunteer experience to that type of business. Prospective employers at charities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or non-profits may be more interested in a job candidate's volunteer experiences. These types of organisations often value skills that professionals can hone while volunteering, such as teamwork and motivation.

When To Consider Not Including Volunteer Work On Your Resume

Depending on factors like your qualifications and the company you are applying for, it may not be necessary to include volunteer work on your resume. Here are some situations in which you might think about not including volunteer experience on your resume:

  • Personal information: If your volunteer experience does not align with the values, mission or beliefs of the company you are applying for, you might want to leave that volunteer experience off your resume.

  • Relevant or extensive professional experience: Professionals who already have lots of relevant experience may not receive much of a benefit from including their volunteer work on their resume. You might also want to skip adding volunteer experience to your resume if you have extensive professional experiences in other fields that you can highlight instead.

  • Volunteer experience from more than a decade ago: Unless the volunteer work connects to the position you are applying for, it is generally a good idea to leave out volunteer experiences from ten or more years ago.

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How To Add Volunteer Work On Resume

There are several ways to add volunteer work to your resume, depending on the context. Here are four strategies for incorporating your volunteer experience into your resume:

1. Incorporate into professional experience

If you have minimal professional experience, adding relevant volunteer work to your professional background section might improve your chances of advancing further in the application process. Add your volunteer experiences after your relevant jobs, internships or other professional experiences and follow the same formatting conventions. This means that each volunteer experience in your professional history section includes the title of your role, the name of the organisation and the dates you held the position. Use the word volunteer in front of the title of your position to make sure prospective employers understand that these were unpaid roles.

Here's an example of how volunteer work in your experience section might look:

Volunteer Elderly Care Worker I April 2017-January 2018
Flowering Oaks Retirement Home I New Delhi, India

  • Assisted the elderly occupants in their daily activities

  • Served breakfast and lunch while also coordinating other junior volunteers in the kitchen and cafeteria

  • Paid daily visits to elders with no visiting relatives

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2. Add a sentence at the end

Some professionals include a brief sentence at the end of their resume about their volunteer experiences. This may be a good option if your volunteer experiences are unrelated to your professional expertise and the industry you are applying for, but may distinguish you from other candidates. For example, you might believe that your volunteering experiences demonstrate your positive attributes or reveal the reasons you chose a particular career.

Here's an example of how to format a separate volunteering section at the end of your resume:

Volunteer work: Little Angels Daycare, Volunteer Care Worker, January 2015-November 2015, February 2020-Present

3. Include with your skills

Consider including your volunteer work in the skills section on your resume. If the volunteer work you performed in the past enhanced skills that are directly relevant to the job you are applying for, you can add that experience directly to the skills section.

Following is an example of how you can incorporate your volunteer work into the skills section of your resume:

Fundraising skills

Volunteer Fundraiser Manager, The Blue Party, 2018-Present

  • Planned over 20 successful fundraising events, such as internet campaigns, auctions, local shows, dinners and more, raising a total of ₹77799 so far

  • Recruited over 100 volunteers, trained three fundraising managers

  • Increased poll numbers by 17% compared to previous campaign

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4. Make a designated section

If you have enough previous work experience but would also like to showcase relevant volunteer work, think about creating a separate section right after your work experiences. This can make it easier to connect your professional experience with your volunteer work. Format this section using the same styling conventions as your professional history section, such as by making a bulleted list of your key accomplishments and primary responsibilities within each volunteer role.

Here's an example of what a comprehensive volunteer experience section could look like:

Related volunteer experience

Volunteer Software Engineer I August 2019-Present

Happy Souls Dog Pound I Delhi, India

  • Handle software implementation, website creation and programming duties for their website and adoption centre

  • Develop both back-end and front-end for their adoption matchmaking website

  • Use SEO to increase traffic, boosting adoptions by 27% compared to 2018

  • Add online ads to increase funding

Related: How To Incorporate Reverse Chronological Order In A Resume

Tips For Adding Volunteer Experience To Your Resume

Here's some advice about including volunteer work on your resume:

Personalise your resume

Customise your resume for each job application that you submit. This might mean that you include a section for your volunteer experiences on some of your resumes, but not all of them. Alternatively, you might expand, minimise or move your volunteer work section based on factors like how relevant your volunteering positions are for the specific job opportunity.

Taking the time to personalise different versions of your resume for each job that you apply for may increase your chances of advancing further in the application process. Be sure to save each unique version of your resume under a different name to help you keep your job application files organised.

Emphasise your achievements

When possible, highlight your key accomplishments within your volunteer positions. While describing your volunteer duties can help give prospective employers a better idea of your experiences, writing about your achievements may distinguish you more as a job candidate. Include specific details or data figures related to these accomplishments if you can.

Related: How To List Education On Your Resume (With Examples)

Elaborate in your cover letter

Use your cover letter as an opportunity to explain the relevance of or add details about your volunteer experiences. Explain the skills that you developed in these volunteer positions. Describe how your volunteer work connects to the job you are applying to, your career goals or your professional history.

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

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