A common question when it comes to resumes and job applications is whether or not volunteering counts as work experience.
To that end, this article is going to unpack whether or not volunteering counts as work experience, based upon my experience as both an employee and a hiring manager. Additionally, it’s going to cover what volunteer work should be listed on a resume, and how to most effectively list it.
Does Volunteering Count as Work Experience?
Yes, volunteering can count as work experience. As a general best practice, you can list volunteer work in the experience section of a resume or job application. Just make sure to indicate that the role was volunteer-based. It’s also best to list volunteer roles that are relevant to the position.
Should You Include Volunteer Experience on a Resume?
In general, it’s a good idea to list volunteer work on your resume in a couple of different scenarios.
First, if you’re early in your career and don’t have a lot of work experience. If you don’t have a lot of actual work experience to list, including volunteer experience, particularly that is relevant to the field will help to fill out your resume. Additionally, it will show that you’re a proactive person that is interested in making a contribution.
Secondly, if listing volunteer experience better positions you for the role that you’re applying for than other type of experience. For example, let’s say that you’re looking to get into marketing, but only have experience in retail. To help build your marketing experience, you volunteered to help organize and promote an event for a local non profit. Even though that was a volunteer position, that type of work better shows your skills and interest in marketing than other work experience.
What Type of Volunteer Work Should be Listed on My Resume?
Ideally, you would list volunteer work on your resume that meets two key criteria.
First, the volunteer work would be relevant to the role that you’re applying for. Going back to the previous example, if you’re applying for a marketing position and have done volunteer marketing work for a non profit, that would be a great thing to list. Also, this is a bit of a side note, but if you’ve completed volunteer work that’s relevant to your role, that can be a great source of references for a job application.
Secondly, if the volunteer work is something that you could tell a story about if asked in an interview. In many cases, a hiring manager will pick and choose experiences on your resume that they’ll ask you about during your interview. If you’re asked about volunteer experience that’s listed on your resume, you’ll want to be able to speak to it in a way that will position you well for the well.
Where to Put Volunteer Work on a Resume
In general, you want to put volunteer work in the “experience” section of your resume, along with other relevant experience that you have for the role to which you’re applying.
How to List Volunteer Work on a Resume
You would list volunteer work on a resume in the same way that you would paid work. The general best practices would be the following:
- List the volunteer work in the experience section of your resume
- Indicate the name of the name of the organization that you volunteer for
- Indicate your volunteer title
- Indicate the dates that you volunteered
- List your contributions to the organization in bullet form
An example of how to list volunteer work on a resume is below:
Volunteer work is a great thing. And it can and should be listed as work experience if it’s relevant to the role to which you’re applying. In fact, it can help you to get job offer that you’re excited about.
Just make sure to list it on your resume or job application appropriately, and be ready to speak to it in your interview if you’re asked about it.