Volunteer Work on Resume: The 2019 Guide to Listing Volunteering Experience on Resume

We are often flooded with questions when it comes to listing volunteer experience on resume.

  • How to list volunteer work on resume?
  • Can volunteer experience on resume actually help?
  • How to include volunteer work on resume so that it actually adds value and does not end up backfiring?
  • Where to put volunteer work on resume?
  • How to describe volunteer work on resume?

You get the gist.

Remember, we are all M.A.D here!

Making A Difference, aren't we?

Working at the local animal shelter, helping out at the fund raiser, planning event at the town fair, volunteering at an old age home...we have all made a difference in other's lives at some point in our lives.

But when it comes to resumes, jobseekers often wonder whether or not it is acceptable to put volunteer work on resume? More importantly, what all job profiles allow including this volunteer resume?

The resume experts at Hiration believe that these experiences are an excellent way to showcase your key skills. They can definitely be put with other work experiences on your resume - in certain situations only.

So, how to list volunteer work on resume in the best possible manner? How to put volunteer work on resume so that the recruiter is amazed by your track record? More importantly, how to include volunteer work on resume so that it does not end up hurting your chances? Can it?

If you can't figure out how to describe volunteer work on resume or where to put volunteer work on resume, you can check out our 20+ customized free resume templates to give you an idea of the best outcome. You can find them on our Online Resume Builder here.

After reading this Volunteer Work on Resume Guide, you should know

  • How to add volunteer work to resume
  • Where to put volunteer work on resume
  • How to describe volunteer work on resume
  • How many volunteer experiences on resume should you include

Additionally, you can find volunteer resume sample on our online resume builder that will help you kickstart your journey to your dream job!

This Guide on volunteer Experience on Resume will cover the following topics:

When to Put Resume Volunteer Experience in a Special Section
How to Include Volunteer Resume Bullet Points to Prove You're Perfect for the Job
When to Leave Volunteering Experience off Your Resume
Key Takeaway

Should You Include Volunteer Work on Resume?

Our identities do not revolve around our 9-5 jobs.

  • According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn, 41% of employers find volunteer work as valuable as paid work.
  • About 20% of recruiters in the U.S. have also hired a candidate based on their volunteer resume.
  • Only 30% of applicants list volunteer work on resume.
  • Most recruiters prefer to see volunteer experience on resume.

No wonder if you have a volunteer section on resume, the chances of grabbing that dream job go up drastically. In a resume, volunteer experience might not make it to the top 3 sections, but it can sure tip the scales in your favour.

Apart from the skills required for that particular job profile, volunteer experience on resume brings out highly sought after qualities. It showcases that you are:

  • Willing to get involved in your community
  • Take initiative
  • Make things happen
  • Work in a team to achieve a common goal

It would be a terrible mistake to not showcase all this if you can.

When to Include Volunteer Work on Resume?

It is very confusing to decide when to put volunteer experience on resume. There are various possibilities. Let us take a look at all of them.

It is very important to add volunteer experiences on resume in the following scenarios:

  • Recent college/high school graduate: If you are a recent college graduate with a limited professional experience. As a fresher, you probably do not have a lot of work experience. So, volunteering work must be central to your resume.
  • Break in your professional career: If you have taken a significant amount of time away from professional environment. This might be because of any reason (personal or otherwise), but including your volunteer experience on resume is a great option. It shows that you have spent the time actively engaging with the community and developing new skills.

Where to Include Volunteer Work on Resume?

There are two ways in which you can include your volunteer experience on resume.

Volunteer Work on Resume in your Professional Experience Section

The resume experts at Hiration believe that the only reason why you must include your volunteer work in your professional experience section is:

  • If it is extremely relevant to your target profile
  • If there are gaps in your professional trajectory
  • If you have minimal professional experience (0-2 years of experience)

In our opinion, you have to be extremely cautious when you are including your volunteer experience in this format.

Let's say you are a freelance marketer who took a break for 2 months, and in that time, you rendered your services at the local animal shelter.

Will you put it in a separate Volunteer Section on resume or will it go in your Professional Experience section?

Depends. On how you frame it.

Hiration Protip: If you are phrasing your volunteer experience on resume as professional experience, you can name it along those lines.
Example: "Financing Experience," or "Accounting Experience."

If you write

Volunteered at the local animal shelter for 2 months and helped them with their marketing initiatives

You might as well not include it altogether. At best, you can include something like this in a separate volunteer section on resume, but if you are including it in your Professional Experience section, you are doomed.

However, if you include something along the lines of:

Independent Marketing Consultant for Pups4Ever, a local animal shelter

  • Conceptualized a social media campaign for the shelter's landmark Annual Fundraising Campaign

  • Boosted followers across all platforms by 250% and increased user engagement by 97%

  • Played a key role in recruiting a team of 3 Marketing Interns for bolstering the publicity of the annual event

Now this, this changes things.

Something like this can be placed in your Professional Experience section. Phrasing your volunteering experience on resume along these lines allows you to demonstrate your professional expertise WHILE also showcasing your initiatives w.r.t community engagement.

A Separate Volunteer Section on Resume

In what all instances would you require a separate Volunteer section on resume?

In our experience, you need a separate Volunteering section on your resume if

  • It's not related to your preferred profile
  • You have a decent amount of professional experience (3+ years)
  • There are no gaps in your professional trajectory

Hiration Protip: Even if it has been a long time since you last volunteered, include that in your resume. While most jobseekers refrain from showcasing their volunteer experience on resume, recruiters actually prefer that.

How to Include Volunteer Experience on Resume?

Use power words & action verbs to make your volunteer section on resume look even more powerful and appealing. Check out this comprehensive guide on how to use them in your resume here.

Try to be as detailed as you possibly can while you are describing your volunteer work on resume.

Instead of saying

Volunteered at the Care Shelter Home for Boys as an English Teacher

Write something along the lines of

Taught Communicative English to 10 children-at-risk and improved their monthly BAT scores by 16%

Following qualities are usually displayed in a volunteer experience on resume. And the best part is: The hiring managers love it!

  • Team Management & Leadership
  • Community Engagement
  • Service
  • Compassion
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Self-Motivation
  • Honesty
  • Physical Fitness
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Reliability
  • Specific Task-based Skills

Checklist for Volunteer Work on Resume

The volunteer resume checklist is here!

Adding volunteer experience on resume makes it stand out like the Sword of Durendal.
Just follow these important tips:

  • If it is relevant, add volunteer work to your professional experience section.
  • If it is not relevant, or you have an extensive professional experience, include volunteer experiences on resume in a separate section.
  • If you are making a separate section, make sure it's below your Professional Experience section
  • Detail your volunteer experiences on resume instead of mentioning generic pointers. Include figures and quantifiable impact wherever possible
  • Even if it's been a while since you last volunteered, include that in your volunteer resume
  • Prefer bullet points over a paragraph for your volunteer resume

Example:

Spoke on a panel about stress management at the IRT Conference for students.
Volunteered twice a month as a product deliverer for FedEx.
Wrote a blog on time and money constraints for kids for "Workell" Magazine

Do you have any questions on how to make a volunteer resume?
Give us a shout out in the comments!