Posted on 01/12/2021


Volunteer experience can enhance a resume. These resume bullet points can help demonstrate your expertise, while also helping communicate your passions, curiosities, and interests. 

How should you list volunteer work on a resume?

To help you craft your resume, we asked human resource professionals and business owners for their best tips. What do they look for when reviewing resumes? How does volunteer work help shape their perception of a candidate? 

Here are several tips on how to list volunteer work on a resume to help you land that right job interview.

Treat it like a job

Begin by assessing the type of organization you’ve spent your time with and the duties that you have fulfilled. In your official capacity as a board member, were you responsible for the profit and loss statement? Did you help create a marketing strategy? Maybe you were responsible for an increase in membership. Treat your volunteer responsibilities like a job and include them on the resume in their own section in the same way that you would if they were listed in your professional experience section. Volunteer work can also demonstrate leadership ability. It is very difficult to motivate people to complete tasks without actually paying them. Providing examples of how you manage this speaks volumes about your character, and as a bonus, your passion for an organization and commitment without pay will be admired. 

Stacey Gordon, Rework Work

Why do you identify with the organization?

You can list your volunteer work in a resume in a small section along with any awards or certifications you may have! Unlike the work experience section, I don’t care much about the results of your actions. Instead, I would include more information about why you partner with that organization and why you identify with its mission. This is an opportunity to differentiate yourself from other applicants and help the recruiter get to know you more.

Vanessa Molica, The Lash Professional

List it if you volunteer regularly

You can list volunteer experience on your resume in a section under your relevant work experience. Personally, I would include this information if it resonates with the values and mission of the company you are applying for. Not only is it a great way to differentiate yourself from other candidates, but it also creates another talking point for your interview. Just be sure to only include it if you participate in volunteer work regularly, as you don’t want to come across as inauthentic. 

Blake Murphey, American Pipeline Solutions 

Tailor it to the company’s community involvement

I include volunteer experiences that would connect to the employer or to the job. For example, if the employer supports food banks, I would highlight my service to food banks or other feeding programs. If the job involves participating in community events, such as community gardens or schools, I would include any experience that relates or is similar to those. Many employers support their communities through volunteer service, so don’t overlook this opportunity to give yourself an edge for your volunteer work!

Colleen McManus, Senior HR Executive and Consultant

Show why you’re a culture fit

If volunteering for a particular organization is near and dear to your heart, I would include that in your resume. As someone who has seen a lot of resumes before, I think this information is best when nested under an “Awards, Hobbies and Interests”. I personally love seeing this part of a candidate’s resume because it gives me an idea of whether they are a good cultural fit for my company well before I invite them in for an interview. 

Nikitha Lokareddy, Markitors

Connect it back to your skills

You can list volunteer work on a resume if you feel that it will strengthen your application! If you are applying to work in an industry like education, I would spotlight any experiences you’ve had mentoring and volunteering with children. The key is to find a way to connect it back to the skills and values that your dream company is looking for.

Jeanne Kolpek, Cadence Education

Remember its value

About 41% of hiring managers consider volunteer work as valuable as paid work when evaluating candidates. About 20% of hiring managers in the U.S. hired a candidate based on their volunteer experience. It speaks volumes about your character. In addition to skills particular to every position, volunteer experience always shows an employer that you are willing to get involved in your community, take initiative, and make things happen. Volunteering shows qualities that are highly sought after in every industry. It would be a terrible mistake to pass on such an opportunity.

Mark Christensen, People & Partnerships

Showcase what you learned

List it under a separate section entitled Additional Experience and follow the same format as you would for any other job. Specifically, list the company, your title and time frame followed by a description of responsibilities. Ideally showcase the metric-based results you achieved. Yes, note that it was a volunteer or pro-bono project, but don’t think of it as “less than” other experiences. Showcase what you learned or achieved, using it as an example in the interview.

Tim Toterhi, Plotline Leadership

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