Tips for Adding Volunteer Work on Your Resume (With Examples)

Understanding how to put volunteer work on a resume can transform your job application from standard to standout. It's a strategic approach to showcase your skills and dedication beyond the workplace. Whether you're a fresh graduate or a seasoned professional, adding volunteer work is an excellent way to differentiate yourself from other applicants. It speaks volumes about your character and values, providing a fuller picture of who you are as a candidate.

In the competitive job market, the goal is to get your resume noticed. Embrace the opportunity to highlight these volunteer experiences, and watch as they open doors to new and exciting career possibilities! In this guide, we offer insights on how to effectively incorporate this experience and outline the do's and don'ts to make sure your resume makes a strong impression.

How to Add Volunteer Experience to Your Resume

Integrating volunteer work into your resume requires a thoughtful approach to ensure it complements your professional experiences and skills. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to add this valuable experience:

1. Identify the Relevant Volunteer Work

Start by reviewing your volunteer experiences and identifying those most relevant to the job you're applying for. This relevance could be in terms of the skills used or developed, the industry, or the role’s similarities to your target job.

Example: If you're applying for a marketing position and you've managed social media campaigns for a non-profit, this experience is highly relevant.

Sample Resume Entry:

Volunteer Literacy Tutor, Community Center, Sep 2019 - Jun 2021Volunteer Social Media Manager, Local Animal Shelter, Jan 2020 - Dec 2020
Developed and implemented social media strategy, increasing Facebook and Instagram followers by 40%

2. Decide Where to Place It on Your Resume

Deciding the optimal place for your volunteer work on your resume is crucial. If it's closely related to your career goals, include it in the work experience section, formatted similarly to your other professional experiences. For less-related volunteer work, a separate volunteer experience section towards the end of your resume is more suitable.

If you're unsure how to include community service on your resume, considering resume writing services can be of great help. These services have expertise in resume structuring and can guide you in highlighting your volunteer work to complement your professional narrative.

Example if Related to Career Goals: Applying for a teaching position and you've volunteered as a literacy tutor

Sample Resume Entry:

Volunteer Literacy Tutor, Community Center, Sep 2019 - Jun 2021

Conducted weekly one-on-one reading sessions, improving students' reading levels by an average of two grades

Example for Unrelated Volunteer Work: Volunteer work at a food bank, while applying for a tech job

Sample Resume Entry:

May 2018 - Aug 2019 | Volunteer
City Food Bank
Coordinated food distribution to 200+ families weekly, enhancing organizational and teamwork skills

3. Format Your Volunteer Experience

Whether you're including it in the work experience section or as a separate entity, format your volunteer experience like any other job. Include the position title (adding 'Volunteer' before the title if necessary), the organization's name, the dates of your involvement, and a few bullet points describing your responsibilities and achievements.

Example: Volunteer event coordinator for a local charity

Sample Resume Entry:

Volunteer Event Coordinator, Health Charity, Mar 2019 - Present
Managed annual fundraising events, raising over $50,000 and increasing attendance by 25%

4. Highlight Your Achievements and Skills

How do you write about charity work on your resume? Rather than just listing duties, focus on what you’ve accomplished in your volunteer role. Did you organize events, raise funds, or lead a team? These achievements demonstrate your initiative and leadership skills. Use action verbs and quantify your accomplishments where possible, such as the number of event attendees or the amount of funds raised.

Example: Led a team of volunteers in a community clean-up project

Sample Resume Entry:

Team Leader, Neighborhood Clean-Up, Jul 2019
Spearheaded a team of 15 volunteers, collecting over 500 pounds of litter, demonstrating leadership and organizational skills

5. Provide Context Where Necessary

Sometimes, a brief explanation of your volunteer work can enhance its impact. For instance, if you volunteered abroad, a sentence about the skills and cultural understanding you gained can be very insightful.

Example: Volunteered abroad to teach English

Sample Resume Entry:

English Teacher Volunteer, Thailand, Oct 2018 - Dec 2018
Taught English to a class of 30 students, enhancing cross-cultural communication and adaptability skills

Do’s and Don’ts When Adding Volunteer Experience To Your Resume

Now that you know how to put charity work on a resume, let's focus on key do's and don'ts. These are crucial for fine-tuning your resume's volunteer section, polishing your presentation, and making your volunteer experience stand out effectively.


DO Connect Volunteer Work to Job Relevance. Always tie any volunteer experience to the job you're applying for by emphasizing the skills and experiences gained that align with the role.

DO Quantify Your Achievements. Whenever possible, use numbers and data to quantify your impact.

DO Format Correctly. Follow the same format as your work experience, with clear titles, organization names, dates, and concise descriptions of your roles and achievements.


DON’T Overload Your Resume with Irrelevant Volunteer Work. If the volunteer experience doesn’t add any value or skills to the job you're applying for, it's better to leave it out.

DON’T Misrepresent Your Role. Honesty is crucial. Overstating your role can lead to credibility issues if cross-checked by employers.

DON’T Include Volunteering That Conflicts with the Job's Values. Align your volunteer work with the company's culture, since incompatible volunteer experiences can raise concerns about fit. That being said, consider applying only to organizations that align with your values.

Why Should You List Volunteer Work on Your Resume?

Volunteer work isn't just a noble pursuit; it's a treasure trove of experiences that can significantly enrich your resume. When considering whether to include volunteer work on your resume, look at the benefits it offers. Volunteer experiences show potential employers that you're community-minded and possess a range of transferable skills.

For individuals with limited work experience, learning how to include community service on a resume is an opportunity to demonstrate your involvement in organizational goals. It reassures hiring managers of your practical capabilities, such as punctuality and reliability, even without an extensive formal work history.

Moreover, volunteer work can effectively bridge employment gaps, showcasing continuous engagement and skill development even during periods of formal unemployment. It's also an opportunity to highlight skills that are not evident from your paid employment. For instance, an accountant known for working with numbers might demonstrate excellent writing skills through volunteer activities, such as drafting donation thank-you letters.

The bottom line is that including volunteer work on your resume can significantly boost your chances of landing an interview by presenting a well-rounded, skill-diverse, and socially responsible profile.

Enhance Your Resume with Volunteer Experiences

Learning how to put volunteer work on your resume can be a powerful tool for showcasing your skills, values, and commitment to potential employers. By thoughtfully selecting, formatting, and tailoring your volunteer experiences, you create a resume that not only reflects your professional qualifications but also your character and societal contributions. Remember, a well-rounded resume opens doors to new opportunities and helps you stand out in a competitive job market.

For more practical resume-boosting advice, continue exploring career tips that help you navigate your professional path with confidence!

Get a free resume review
  • 7 seconds: this is how long your resume has either to impress or be ignored by the recruiter
  • 300+: average number of applications one corporate job opening posted online receives
  • 3%: number of sent resumes that result in interviews

Transform your career
and beat the odds!