How to Include Volunteer Work on Your Resume
Is it acceptable to put volunteer work on your resume when you're applying for jobs? What's the best way to add volunteering and where should you list it? Volunteer work can be an excellent way to showcase key skills such as event planning, fundraising, or problem-solving and should certainly be integrated with other work experiences on your resume.
How to Include Volunteering on Your Resume
Including volunteer work on your resume is an especially important tactic if:
a) you are a recent college graduate with limited professional experience;
b) if you have taken a significant amount of time away from the workplace to raise young children or to care for a sick family member; or
c) you have experienced a lengthy period of unemployment due to a depressed economy in your state or region.
How can you incorporate your volunteer experience into your resume to gain the maximum benefit? The answer 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."
In either case, the volunteer experience should be listed just like a job with a title that captures the essence of your role and a description which highlights skills applied and any accomplishments.
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:
Volunteer Fundraiser, The United Way, Montclair, NJ, Fall 2016 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 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:
Volunteer, Habitat for Humanity, Birmingham, AL, Fall 2015 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 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.
Your Contact Information
First Last Name
City, State, Zip
Tremaine and Miller Communications
January 20XX - Present
Web Editorial Associate
Responsibilities: Skillfully facilitate design and maintenance of company’s professional Website. Write, edit, and update engaging web content. Track Website performance and analyze user trends to identify opportunities to maximize user engagement.
- Within twelve months of hiring, increased daily Website visits by 50%.
- Sourced third-party provider of images that lowered costs by 15%.
June 20XX - January 20XX
Responsibilities: Brought on board to optimize organization’s web presence through deft website management.
Independently handled all website maintenance tasks, including content editing, photo editing, and publishing.
- Consistently completed webpage development projects within challenging production deadlines.
- Incorporated Ad Sense program to website that triggered a 30% increase in site revenues.
Sarasota Rowing Association
January 20XX - Present
Responsibilities: Leverage professional expertise to design and maintain organization’s first-ever website through creative and unique image editing and content creation.
- Designed community outreach program that significantly heightened attendance at organization’s sports competitions.
Rescue Our Strays
July 20XX - Present
Responsibilities: Ensure quality creation and timely distribution of newsletter and email communications with staff, volunteers, and applicants; oversee and manage website.
- Introduced Paypal donation link to Website that increased contributions by 28%.
September 20XX - March 20XX
Responsibilities: Volunteered in the Maternity Unit assisting nurses with medical duties and daily tasks, watching over infants in the nursery, performing filing and chart work, stocking nursery supplies, compiling necessary paperwork for patients, bringing infants to and from patient rooms, and checking for correct identification.
BA, English Literature
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. If you're interested in volunteering, explore this guide to finding volunteer opportunities online.