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How to Include Volunteer Experience on a Resume

Posted By Volunteer Toronto , November 17, 2017
 Ask Kelly Banner

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes | Written by Mary Walton, volunteer blogger 

Volunteering has so many benefits, both for the community and for the volunteer. Not can you make a difference by helping others, volunteering also gives you the opportunity to build up new skills that can help you bolster your professional experience. Here are some tips for building this experience into your resume:


Include both short and long-term volunteering

The first step is thinking about the length of the volunteering work you've done. Was it a one-day event you volunteered at? Or have you held a longer volunteer role?

Many people have done short-term volunteer placements, usually as part of their school education. Don’t forget, you can include this experience on your resume! If you’ve had a few short-term roles, the best way to include them is listing the year you volunteered and organization’s name in a general 'Volunteering Experience' section of your resume.

If you’ve volunteered for a longer period of time in one role, then this should be treated differently on your resume as you can actually expend on what it is you've done at that placement. Longer-term volunteer roles can sit alongside your work experience. Take the opportunity to go into the details of your role at that organization and mention the skills you've built up there—recruiters often value that you’ve shown you can grow and learn new things.


Ask yourself, is your volunteering relevant to the job?

Additionally, you should also consider whether the volunteering you’ve completed is relevant to the job you're applying for. Either way, you can include the experience, but the way you'll do so is different—similar to short-term and longer-term roles.

To start, ask yourself if the skills you learned in each volunteer role reflect the job you’re applying for—regardless of short or long-term. If the roles you’ve held aren’t relevant, you can include them in your separate 'Volunteer Experience' section in your resume and list them out as mentioned above. This will show that you've dedicated time to these organizations, and have contributed back to the community in some way.

However, if the volunteering role is directly related to the job you're applying for—again, no matter whether it is short or long term—then take the opportunity to highlight it. Take care to look at the job posting, and see how you can relate your volunteering back to this role. Flush out a description as if you would explain your past work experience. You want to show the recruiter that you have the skills needed for the job. You may also want to mention your longer-term volunteer experience in your cover letter—it can often set you apart from other candidates.


Present your best professional self with a well-written resume

Resume editor Adrienne Jones at AustralianHelp says, "To really wow the recruiter, you've not only got to include the volunteer experience you have, but you've got to write that resume well." This is true. It won’t matter how much volunteer experience you have on your resume or the skills you’ve learned, unless the entire resume is presented professionally. Generally, here are some tips to help you get that resume written perfectly, ready for recruiters:

  • Keep it short: Recruiters don't have the time to be ploughing through long resumes. Ensure they read yours by keeping it short and to the point, only including information that's necessary.
  • Format it well: Use plenty of white space, section your resume out well, and use headings and bullet points. Recruiters scanning your resume will then be able to find what they need.
  • Give yourself time to write: Don't write your whole resume at the last minute. The more time you give yourself, the easier it will be to create a good quality document.
  • Always proofread and edit: Your resume needs to be perfect or it could be disregarded. Make the time to edit and proofread your resume, to catch the mistakes before you send it out.
  • If you need an extra hand, check out BoomEssays and EssayRoo for some more resume building resources.


With these tips and tricks, we hope you'll consider including volunteer experience in your resume!


Mary Walton is an editor at PaperFellows writing center. She has a blog Simple Grad, there she reviews popular online educational services. Mary helps people improve business writing, and proofreads resumes. Also, she is a tutor at Academized educational portal.

Tags:  how to write a volunteer resume  job experience  Volunteer questions  Volunteering  Volunteerism 

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