How to Effectively Add a Volunteer Section to Your Resume

Volunteer experience can vastly improve your chances of getting an interview for the ideal job. But it’s key to know how to list volunteer work in a way that highlights your strengths and passion. Listing volunteer work on your resume in an effective manner can help employers better understand your interests, skills, and experiences and increase your chances of landing that interview.


These days there is a lot of competition out there, and our professional identities are no longer just about what you do during business hours. Volunteer experience shows an employer that you’re willing to get involved in your community, take initiative, and make things happen. This display of initiative and sense of community is a highly sought-after trait that many companies and organizations look for in their candidates. When you include examples of your achievements in voluntary positions, you are displaying the outcome of your personal involvement and providing the hiring manager with examples of how you will be the perfect fit.

Showcasing your volunteering experience will not only make you stand out from the crowd during the application process, but it could also rank you pretty high among your superiors. It shows that you would be willing to continue this positive contribution towards the business. Because public relations and the reputation of community work are high priorities for many organizations, having someone with this experience can bring many advantages to the company in the form of networking, marketing, and new clients.


Simple answer — you should always include your volunteer experience. However, your volunteer experience will come in especially handy if you are a fresh graduate, if you are changing career paths, or if you are returning to the workforce.

As an entry-level candidate, you probably don’t have much paid work experience to speak of. If this is the case, consider making volunteer work central to your resume.

It’s also good to highlight volunteer experience if you are changing careers. There’s no better way to get a job in a new industry than by showing that you’ve been a part of it for years with volunteer work.

If you are returning to the workforce you definitely want to build up any previous volunteering. For whatever reason you took a break, listing your volunteer experience on a resume is a great way to show that you’ve spent this time honing your skills.


How you organize volunteer experience on a resume will depend heavily on how it relates to your career target. List related volunteer experience under the employment history section just like any other job. But create a separate section for your unrelated volunteer experience. Highlight any transferable skills you’ve acquired as they pertain to your target position. In spite of being seemingly unrelated, any volunteering experience shows an employer that you’re self-motivated and willing to go above and beyond.


Apart from the obvious volunteer work such as a position in a nonprofit organization, there are many ways a person can volunteer, while it may not be super obvious it can give your resume the boost it needs. The list below has possible related volunteer work you could include in your resume either for the experience, knowledge or the skills it has given you:

  • Event coordinator
  • Sports coach
  • Fundraising
  • Mentoring
  • Chaperoning
  • Tutoring
  • School associations
  • Community Service
  • Neighborhood Watch
  • Counseling

Voluntary experiences are almost always career-enhancing even when it may not be in the exact line of work you’re looking for, so don’t be afraid to improve your chances of landing that dream job by including volunteer work on your resume. At MJW Careers, we want to see our clients succeed in the jobs they desire, and that starts with a powerful resume to open the door to those opportunities. If you’re looking for a professional eye to improve your resume and help make that volunteer experience work for you, we’re here to help. Contact us today and let’s get started!

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