Is it acceptable to include volunteer work on your resume when you're applying for jobs? Adding volunteering to your resume can help you get hired—especially when you don't have a lot of paid work experience to include.
Volunteer work can be an excellent way to showcase key skills such as event planning, fundraising, or problem-solving and can be integrated with your other paid work experiences or listed separately.
How to Include Volunteering on Your Resume
Including volunteer work on your resume is an especially important tactic for any of these reasons:
- You're a student without much (or any) formal work experience.
- You are a recent college graduate with limited professional experience.
- You're considering a career change to a different occupation or industry.
- You have taken a significant amount of time away from the workplace to raise young children or to care for a sick family member.
- You have experienced a lengthy period of unemployment due to a depressed economy in your state or region.
The goal is to incorporate your volunteer experience into your resume to highlight the skills that help qualify you for a job. The way to accomplish this will depend, to some degree, on how related your volunteer experience is to your career target.
Related Volunteer Work
Related volunteer work can be combined with related work experience under a category heading like "Related Experience." If the volunteer work demonstrates a critical skill area, then it could be placed within a category with a functional heading like "Fundraising Experience" or "Event Planning Experience."
As you list your accomplishments, it is also a good idea to quantify these contributions with tangible numbers (dollar amounts) or percentages.
Here's an example:
Example of a Related Experience Section
Volunteer Fundraiser, The United Way, Montclair, NJ, Fall 2019 to Present
- Recruited, coordinated, and trained 14 volunteer fundraisers.
- Planned and promoted three successful fundraising events, including a silent auction, dinner, and concert, which generated over $80,000 in pledges.
- Increased contributions by 25% over the previous campaign.
Unrelated Volunteer Work
If the volunteer work is unrelated to your job goal, you can incorporate it under a separate category like "Community Service" or "Volunteer Work." Most organizations look favorably upon staff who contribute in a positive way to the surrounding community—not only does it reflect well on the company, but volunteering can also be an opportunity for staff to network with potential new clients for the organization.
Here's an example of how to include volunteer work on your resume when it isn't directly related to your career or industry:
Example of a Volunteer Experience Section
Volunteer, Habitat for Humanity, Birmingham, AL, Fall 2018 to Present
- Coordinated and led work parties that constructed 15 homes for low income families in need of housing.
- Conceptualized and successfully launched an initiative that collected contributions of gently used furniture and other household items to sell in the Habitat for Humanity store.
- Directed preparation of Labor Day parade float to increase community awareness of organization’s presence and contributions.
Volunteer Resume Example
Here's an example of a resume that includes both work and volunteer experience:
123 Main Street • New York, NY 10036 • (123) 456-7890 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Building and maintaining websites that increase traffic and revenue
Experienced web designer builds and maintains sites with professional and engaging content.
TREMAINE AND MILLER COMMUNICATIONS, Sarasota, FL
WEB EDITORIAL ASSOCIATE (January 2020—Present)
Skillfully facilitate design and maintenance of company’s website.
- Within 12 months of hiring, increased daily website visits by 50%.
- Sourced third-party provider of images that lowered costs by 15%.
DOLAN ASSOCIATES, Sarasota, FL
WEB ASSISTANT (June 2018—January 2020)
Brought on board to optimize organization’s web presence and independently handled all website maintenance tasks, including content editing, photo editing, and publishing.
- Consistently completed web page development projects within challenging production deadlines.
- Incorporated Ad Sense program to website that triggered a 30% increase in site revenue.
SARASOTA ROWING ASSOCIATION (January 2017—Present)
Leverage professional expertise to design and maintain organization’s first-ever website.
RESCUE OUR STRAYS (July 2017—Present)
Ensure quality creation and timely distribution of newsletter and email communications with staff, volunteers, and applicants; oversee and manage website.
EDUCATION & CREDENTIALS
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, Gainesville, FL
Bachelor of Arts in English literature, 2018
Are You Looking to Volunteer?
Not only is volunteering good for your community, but it also has the potential to benefit your career. A volunteer position can be a networking opportunity, help you sharpen your skills, and serve as a low-risk way to explore a new industry.