Volunteer Work

Where Does Volunteer Work Belong On A Resume?


Most often, volunteer work appears toward the end of a resume, after work history.

Related: Top 7 Resume Trends For 2015

However, if you have been out of the workforce for a while, are a recent college graduate or are changing careers, your volunteer activities may be the showcase for your most important skills and accomplishments.

As a recent college graduate or a career changer, you might hone new skills as a volunteer in your field, in preparation for a full-time job.

For example, if you want to work in the healthcare industry, you might volunteer at a hospital; if you want to become a graphic designer, you might lend your skills to a nonprofit in search of a logo.

If you’ve been out of the workforce for a while, volunteering may be an excellent way to keep your skills sharp. An IT professional might volunteer to help a nonprofit organization maintain its computers; develop a program to track donors or clients; or enhance their website.

In all those cases, it might be worthwhile to mention your volunteer work early in the resume.

Wherever it is placed in a resume, even a brief mention of volunteer work is important. Most companies are conscious that they need a thriving community around them in order to succeed, both as employers and as providers of products and services.

Hiring managers and recruiters know companies appreciate a spirit of “giving back” in their employees.

Your volunteer work identifies you as someone who also appreciates that spirit.

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Robin Schlinger

Robin Schlinger is the founder of Robin’s Resumes which provides excellent services to those who value the best in resumes and career marketing documentation.


  1. Alan, I like the idea of a new style of cover letter that helps people that are job seeking to showcase their volunteer work in a way that a potential employer would respond to. I signed up for the accredible newsletter. Job hunters still need to appraoch volunteer work strategically…employers are not really very likely to hire people because they are “doing good” in the world…they hire people because they are perfecting/building valuable work skills. So my advice is to see volunteer work that can do that you you.

  2. Volunteer work is REAL work…the only difference is you are not being paid! A good piece of advice I heard from an expert in the career field was to look for volunteer opportnities that make use of the talents you have that you want to be employed for…such as graphic design, web services, accounting, marketing etc. The key thing the expert told me was to ask if you can get a solid job title that is related to your volunteer work…such as “Chief Graphic Designer”, or “Web Master”. Charity organizations are in desprate need for help and usually have no problem exchanging a big job title for free work .

  3. hoe can i volunteer to any of your organisations in makurdi, benue state in Nigeria.
    just been idle for long
    with kind regards

  4. Terrific advice! Don’t forget to gather letters of reference for your unpaid work; they will come in handy later.

  5. Hi Robin,

    I agree completely that volunteer experience is important to include on your resume! Sometimes, I’m working with a client that’s in a career transition, and when I asked them about volunteer experience, they have none. Volunteering is very important and should always be a part of your life. Think about the changes we could make if everyone volunteered a little time and expertise to a good cause!


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