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How to Include Volunteer Experience on CV: Examples & Tips

How to put volunteer experience on CVs. When to add volunteer CV work to work experience. How to list volunteer work on a CV to make employers notice.

Tom Gerencer
Career Writer at ResumeLab
How to Include Volunteer Experience on CV: Examples & Tips

The volunteer experience section is an element of your CV where you list the work experiences you performed freely and voluntarily. Writing the volunteer experience section is an excellent way to showcase your key skills, interests, and motivation.

 

Here’s how to put volunteer work on CVs.

 

You’re in a pickle.

 

You’ve got Gandhi-level achievements. But—

 

They didn’t pay you.

 

Don’t panic.

 

Volunteer experience on CVs still counts as professional experience.

 

I’ll show you:

  • How to list volunteer work on a CV.
  • Where to put volunteer experience on CVs.
  • Good volunteer CVs samples you can use.
  • When to put volunteer work under work experience.

 

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1. How to Put Volunteer Work on CV When It’s Major

You know this:

 

Volunteer experience on CVs can get you hired.

 

Deloitte surveyed 2,500+ hiring managers. Fully 82% said they prefer candidates with CV volunteering experience.

 

Why do volunteering CV achievements matter?

 

Just like regular work, they prove your skills.

 

But how to list volunteer experience on CVs? And where to put volunteer experience on CVs?

 

Where to put volunteer work on a CV?

 

Put volunteer experiences on CVs in two places:

  • Put volunteer on CVs in work experience if it proves multiple skills the job ad wants.
  • Put minor volunteering experience on CVs in a separate section lower down.

 

Can you put volunteer work under work experience?

 

You can put volunteer work under work experience on one condition: if it fits the job you’re applying for. Does your CV volunteer work prove valuable skills the job ad wants? Then put it in your work history like a job description.

 

How to describe volunteer work on CVs?

 

To describe major volunteer work on CVs, list it like a job.

 

Add bullet points stuffed with achievements that show skills. Add numbers to prove just how powerful that CV volunteer experience was.

 

These volunteering CV examples show how:

 

Volunteer Experience on CV—Example

 

Job ad wants skills in patient education, health screening, and patient interaction.

Good Example

Nursing Experience

 

Weekly American Heart Association Volunteer
Jan–Nov 2018

  • Conducted patient education for 10 patients per week.
  • Performed an average of 5 health screenings each week.
  • Commended by management 5x for excellent patient interaction.
Bad Example

Volunteer Work

 

  • Volunteer, American Heart Association.

The first of those how to list volunteer work on CV samples sizzles. It proves you’ll get the job done.

Expert Hint: When putting volunteering CV work in work experience, call it that. Say web design experience or legal experience. Then you don’t need volunteer synonyms.

2. How to Include Volunteer Work on CV When It’s Minor

 

Some volunteer work isn’t central to the job.

 

Maybe you walked dogs for a local shelter. Maybe you helped with a bake sale.

 

That volunteer CV experience can still impress. But don’t list it as work experience.

 

How to list volunteer work on CVs when it’s minor:

  • If you have lots, put it in a volunteering section below Experience.
  • If you have little, put it in an Activities section.

 

Either way—

 

Show achievements tied to skills in the job ad.

 

See these volunteering experience on CV examples:

 

Minor Volunteer Experience on CV—Example

 

Job offer asks for skills in leadership, collaboration, and record keeping.

 

Good Examples

Volunteer CV example #1 [If you have lots]:

 

Volunteer Jobs

 

  • Church volunteer. Led team of 25 community fundraisers that raised £5,300 for charity.
  • Animal shelter volunteer. Collaborated with 18 out-of-state rescues to save the lives of 4,800+ dogs and cats.
  • Nursing home volunteer. Kept records on 153 patients for 2 years with 100% HIPAA compliance.

 

Volunteer work on CV example #2 [if you have little]:

 

Activities

 

  • Homeless shelter volunteer. Led 5 volunteers in cleaning and resupplying rooms.
  • [Other non-volunteer activity]
  • [Other non-volunteer activity]
Bad Example

Volunteer Experience

 

  • Church volunteer.
  • Animal shelter volunteer.
  • Nursing home volunteer.

The first of those how to list volunteer work on CV examples is Gates-Foundation-worthy.

 

It proves skills the employer wants.

Expert Hint: Don’t list every piece of volunteer experience on CVs. If you’ve got more impressive feats, save the CV real estate for them instead.

The ResumeLab builder is more than looks. Get specific content to boost your chances of getting the job. Add job descriptions, bullet points, and skills. Easy. Improve your CV in our CV builder now.

 

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3. What Counts as Volunteer Experience on CV: Examples

 

Anything you do for free counts as volunteer CV experience.

 

That includes work for blood drives and soup kitchens. It also means pro bono work or helping an ailing parent.

 

The better the cause, the better the CV volunteer experience. Use it to show accomplishments that fit the job offer.

 

These how to list volunteer work on CVs examples show how:

 

Volunteer Experience Examples

 

Job ad wants skills in planning, training, and leadership. 

Good Example

Stroke Rehabilitation Volunteer Work

Oct–Dec 2009

  • Helped my father recover from a stroke. He was unable to move or talk. In two months he drove his own car 2,100 miles to stay with his brother.
  • Created a plan of 4 extra therapy hours per week, including speech, writing, occupational, and physical therapy.
  • Trained him in basic tasks like reading a clock, shopping, cooking meals, and driving his car.
  • Led team of 4 siblings to take turns watching him until he was 100% independent.
Bad Example

Volunteer Position

  • Helped father recover from a stroke.

Wow.

 

The first of those volunteer experience on CV samples is Oprah-style.

 

What Counts as Volunteer Work

 

  • Pro Bono Work is when you voluntarily work in a professional sense. It uses specific job skills, so it’s great volunteer experience on CVs.
  • Hospital volunteer CV work can show healthcare skills. It also proves skills all employers want, like teamwork and compassion.
  • Church volunteer work on CVs can show leadership and organisation.
  • Animal Shelter volunteer CV items like walking dogs shows compassion and work ethic.
  • Nursing Home volunteer duties on CVs can show teamwork, record keeping skills, and more.
  • Homeless Shelter volunteers are good collaborators and communicators. Both are excellent CV skills.
  • Library volunteer work on CVs proves strong organisation skills.
  • Helping an ailing parent can be listed on a CV as volunteer work. (See the CV volunteer experience sample above.)
  • Student volunteers can be coaches, tutors, or blood drive helpers. All show skills working toward a common goal.
  • Blood Drive volunteer CV items prove common skills like teamwork and compassion. They can also show phlebotomy and documentation skills.
  • Child Care volunteering experiences on CVs look best for child care jobs. They also show transferable communication and collaboration skills.
  • Daycare volunteer experience CV bullets work best in daycare CVs. They also prove general skills like organisation and problem-solving.
  • Food Pantry volunteer experience on CVs can prove interpersonal or organisation skills.
  • Goodwill volunteer on CV proves retail experience and physical fitness.
  • Hospice volunteer work on CVs can show compassion and specific healthcare skills.
  • Parent volunteer CV positions include assisting teachers, coaches, and organising fundraisers.
  • School volunteer work builds interpersonal and collaboration skills.
  • Basketball Coaches who voluntarily work have leadership and training skills.
  • Habitat for Humanity volunteer work on CVs shows collaboration and construction skills.

 

That’s not all the volunteer experience in the universe. Any help for free makes good volunteer work on CVs.

 

Should you put community service on CVs? That term has a negative slant. It’s often given as a punishment. Call it volunteer experiences on CVs instead.

 

Expert Hint:Should I add a cover letter?” By all means you should. Why? Over 80% of recruiters who participated in our study say cover letters matter to them.

 

Double your impact with a matching CV and cover letter combo. Use our cover letter builder and make your application documents pop out.

 

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Want to try a different look? There’s 18 more. A single click will give your document a total makeover. Pick a cover letter template here.

 

Key Points:

 

Here’s a recap of how to include volunteer experience on CVs:

  • Show volunteer CV items as work experience if they show multiple achievements. Also if they prove skills shown in the job ad.
  • Put volunteer work on CVs in a volunteer section if it’s minor but you’ve got a lot. That is—if it doesn’t prove multiple skills shown in the job ad.
  • Put CV volunteer experience in an activities section if it’s minor and there’s little of it.
  • When listing community service on CVs, call it a volunteer position instead. That dodges the dodgy criminal connotation.

 

Still not sure how to put volunteer work on CVs? Need more tips for showing volunteer experience on CVs? Leave a comment. We’re happy to reply!

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Tom Gerencer
Tom Gerencer is a career advice writer and a resume expert at ResumeLab. Tom has been featured on BBC News, NBC, The Economist, Business Insider, Fast Company, and dozens of other outlets. His insights, commentary, and articles reach over a million readers every month. With inside knowledge of key industry players and in-depth research, Tom helps job seekers with advice across all professions and career stages. Tom holds a degree in English from Colby College.

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