How to Include Volunteer Work on Your Resume

Portrait of happy female volunteers standing together at park
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Volunteer work can be an excellent way to showcase key skills such as event planning, fundraising, or patient care and should certainly be integrated with other work experiences on your resume. This 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:

Fundraising Experience
Volunteer Fundraiser, The United Way, Montclair, NJ, Fall 2012 to Present

  • Recruited, coordinated, and trained 14 volunteer fundraisers.
  • Planned and promoted 3 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 Example." Most organizations look favorably upon staff who contribute in a positive way to the surrounding community given the public relations benefits for the firm and the opportunity for staff to network with potential new clients for the organization.

Volunteer Experience

Volunteer, Habitat for Humanity, Birmingham, AL, Fall 2012 to Present

  • Coordinated and led work parties that constructed 15 homes for low income families in need of housing.
  • Conceptualized and successfully launched 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
Street Address
City, State, Zip
Phone (Cell/Home)
Email Address

WORK EXPERIENCE

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.

Accomplishments:

  • Within twelve months of hiring, increased daily Website visits by 50%.
  • Sourced third-party provider of images that lowered costs by 15%.

Dolan Associates
June 20XX - January 20XX
Web Assistant
Responsibilities: Brought on board to optimize organization’s Web presence through deft Website management. Independently handled all Website maintenance tasks, including web content editing, photo editing, and publishing.

Accomplishments:

  • Consistently completed webpage development projects within challenging production deadlines.
  • Incorporated Ad Sense program to Website that triggered a 30% increase in site revenues.

VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE

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.

Accomplishment:

  • 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.

Accomplishment:

  • Introduced Paypal donation link to Website that increased contributions by 28%.

Sarasota Hospital
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.

EDUCATION

Florida University
BA, English Literature

Suggested Reading: Why and Where to Volunteer to Enhance Your Career | How to Turn a Volunteer Position into a Job

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