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How to Include Volunteer Experience on a Resume

Posted By Volunteer Toronto , January 18, 2019
Updated: January 18, 2019
 Ask Kelly Banner

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes | Written by Josh Carlyle, volunteer blogger 

Looking for work is harder than ever and it’s important to give yourself every edge you can. Volunteering is a great way to bolster your resume and help you stand out from the crowd.

If you need help with editing your CV, you can check this custom essay writing company that offers writing and editing services tailored to your specific needs.

Volunteer experience can help make up for a lack of direct work experience, fill in gaps in employment to show that you’re eager and active, and can help you set out on a new career path by developing new skills that your current job doesn’t use. More than that, volunteer experience gives your resume personality and lets hiring managers know who you are.

That said, it can be tricky to effectively include volunteering on a resume or job application. Here are some important things to consider when listing your volunteer experience on your resume:


Where should volunteer experience be mentioned?

It’s important for hiring managers to know which experience is paid and which is from volunteering. This means that most resumes should list volunteer experience in a separate section after work experience as listing both in the same chronological section can easily be confusing. A separate section will be more clear, easier to read, and catch recruiters’ attention.

However, if you don’t have much paid work experience under your belt, you can opt to include both paid and volunteer experience in the same section. If you do so be careful to clearly label volunteer positions and to title the section “Experience” so as to not mislead anyone.


How long did you volunteer for?

It’s useful to consider the length of your volunteering when considering how to list your experience because long-term volunteering will carry more weight than short term positions.

 If you have a number of short-term positions it’s usually enough to list the year when you volunteered and the organization you were helping. Long-term volunteering can be expanded a bit more—use that space to describe the role and how you made it your own like you would for your work experience.


What information is most relevant to your application?

Hiring managers read a lot of resumes and they read them FAST. If something isn’t relevant to the job posting it will often be passed over. So take your time and consider how each of your volunteer experiences relates to the position you’re applying for. Be sure to focus on the most relevant parts and don’t be afraid to leave irrelevant details out, you’ll have an opportunity to expand on your resume if you’re selected for an interview.

This doesn't mean that you should exclude volunteering that SEEMS irrelevant however. Often, a volunteer role may seem unrelated to a particular job but actually offers a number of ‘soft skills’ that help make your case. Things like teamwork or leadership skills, time management skills, and communication skills are all great things to include.

When writing your resume make sure to give the best possible impression of yourself that you can. Use a professional tone and focus on how all of your experiences contribute to the value that you offer employers.

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


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

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How Do I Apply to Volunteer if I Don't Have Work Experience?

Posted By Volunteer Toronto, January 18, 2016
 "> Ask Kelly Banner


“Ask Us” is our blog series aimed at answering your most pressing volunteer questions. Got a burning question? We're here to help!

Submit your question to - subject line: Ask Us


Hello Volunteer Toronto,

My name is Jian and I am in grade 10. I want to volunteer and get my 40 hours, but I am unsure where to start especially because I’ve never worked or volunteered anywhere before. What is the best way for me to find a volunteer position? I’ve noticed some places ask for resumes, but since I don’t have any experience, what can I send in?

- Jian


Hello Jian,

Thank you so much for your letter and your question! We're really glad to hear you want to volunteer and get your 40 hours! Volunteering can be fun, a great way to meet new people and it could give you some experience to put on your resume. 

The best way for you to start looking for positions is to go to our website at and search by Category “1. Suitable for Youth (14-17)”. That will bring up any positions that are looking for youth volunteers. Please know that new positions are being posted every day!




When you find a position title that appeals to you, click on it and you’ll find more information about the position. At the bottom you’ll find a section that says “How to Apply/Contact” follow those instructions to contact the organization directly.

You are right that sometimes in the “How to Apply/Contact” section, an organization will ask for a resume. Since you don’t have any experience, we would encourage you to draft a document that highlights your major achievements, your top skills and the things you are interested in. Or if you’d like to try writing a resume, this article gives some fantastic tips for high school students with no experience. Remember, just because you don’t have formal experience, you still have a lot to offer! Make sure to make it look professional and check for spelling and grammar.

In your application, we encourage you to also include a paragraph or cover letter that explains your interest in the position and the skills you have to offer. Why do you want to volunteer for that organization in particular? What are you great at?

If you need any additional help, Jian, feel free to contact one of our volunteer advisors who will be more than happy to help.


Tags:  40 volunteer hours  applying to volunteer  how do I get a volunteer position  how to volunteer  how to write a volunteer resume  Volunteer questions 

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