Boost Your Resume: Maximizing Volunteer Experience for Work History

Can You Put Volunteer Experience Under Work Experience

Wondering if you can include your volunteer experience under work experience on your resume? This article explores the benefits of highlighting your volunteer work, how to format it in your resume, and why it is valued by employers. Learn how to effectively showcase your skills and dedication gained through volunteering to enhance your chances of landing your dream job.

When crafting a resume, individuals often wonder if volunteer experience can be included under the Work Experience section. The answer is yes. In fact, including volunteer experience in this section can greatly enhance your chances of standing out to potential employers. Transitioning smoothly from professional work experience to volunteer experience allows you to showcase a diverse range of skills and attributes that can make you an attractive candidate. Furthermore, presenting your volunteer work alongside your professional experience demonstrates your commitment to giving back to the community and can highlight your passion for causes that align with the values of the organization you are applying to. Therefore, it is essential to fully capitalize on the value of your volunteer experience by positioning it within the Work Experience section of your resume.



When it comes to building a strong resume, work experience is often considered a vital component. However, not everyone has a traditional job history to showcase. In this article, we will explore the question: Can you put volunteer experience under work experience? While some may argue against it, there are valid reasons why including volunteer work in your work experience section can be beneficial.

The Value of Volunteer Experience

Volunteering offers numerous opportunities for personal growth and skill development. While it may not always come with a paycheck, the experience gained through volunteering can be just as valuable as paid work experience. By engaging in volunteer work, individuals can acquire new skills, expand their network, and demonstrate their commitment to making a positive impact in their community.

The Work Experience Section

The work experience section is typically one of the first areas employers review on a resume. It provides them with insights into your previous roles, responsibilities, and accomplishments. While traditionally reserved for paid employment, this section can also include relevant volunteer experiences that align with the job you are applying for.

Showcasing Transferable Skills

Volunteer work often involves performing tasks and responsibilities similar to those in a professional setting. Whether it’s managing events, coordinating teams, or handling administrative duties, these experiences develop transferable skills that can be applicable to various job positions.


Relevance to the Job

When deciding whether to include volunteer experience under work experience, consider its relevance to the job you are applying for. If the skills and responsibilities gained through volunteering directly align with the requirements of the position, it is worth highlighting this experience in your work history.

Formatting Volunteer Experience

While including volunteer experience under work experience can be beneficial, it is crucial to format it appropriately. List the organization, your role, and the dates of your volunteer work, just as you would with a paid job. Provide a brief description of your responsibilities and any notable accomplishments during your time as a volunteer.

Emphasizing Impact

When discussing your volunteer experience, focus on the impact you made rather than the fact that it was unpaid work. Highlight the outcomes achieved, such as funds raised, increased community engagement, or successful projects completed. This demonstrates your ability to contribute effectively and make a difference.

Separate Sections for Work and Volunteer Experience

If you have substantial volunteer experience that deserves recognition, consider creating separate sections for work and volunteer experience on your resume. By dedicating a specific area to showcase your volunteer work, you can give it the attention it deserves while still distinguishing it from your paid employment.

Providing References

Just like with paid work experience, having references who can vouch for your skills and dedication can significantly enhance your credibility. Ensure you have permission from supervisors or coordinators from your volunteer experiences to use them as references. This adds further validation to the value of your volunteer work.


While there may be differing opinions on including volunteer experience under work experience, it can undoubtedly bring added value to your resume. When formatted correctly and relevant to the job you are applying for, volunteer work showcases your transferable skills, commitment, and ability to make a positive impact. So, if you have volunteer experience that aligns with your desired job, don’t hesitate to include it in your work history.

The Value of Volunteer Experience

Volunteer experience holds immense value and can be considered as a legitimate form of work experience. It showcases valuable skills, dedication, and a commitment to making a difference in the community. Including volunteer experience under the work experience section of a resume highlights an individual’s well-roundedness and dedication to personal and professional growth.

Transferrable Skills Gained through Volunteer Work

Volunteer experiences often provide individuals with unique opportunities to develop transferrable skills that are highly valuable in the workplace. Skills such as leadership, teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and adaptability are commonly obtained through volunteer work. By including volunteer experience under work experience, individuals can showcase their ability to apply these skills in a professional setting.

Unpaid ≠ Unimportant

Volunteer work may be unpaid, but it should never be considered unimportant. Just because individuals may not have received monetary compensation for their efforts does not mean that the experience holds any less value. In fact, volunteer work can sometimes provide individuals with more hands-on experience and opportunities for growth than some paid positions. Demonstrating this experience in the work experience section demonstrates a commitment to personal growth and community engagement.

Aligning Volunteer Experience with Job Requirements

When applying for a job, tailoring the resume to align with the position’s requirements is crucial. If the skills and experiences gained through volunteering align with the job description, including volunteer experience under work experience can help highlight the relevant qualifications and increase the chances of securing an interview. This demonstrates the ability to apply learned skills in a professional setting, regardless of whether it was paid or unpaid.

Importance of Clearly Labelling Volunteer Experience

To ensure that employers recognize volunteer experience as legitimate work experience, it is crucial to clearly label and provide details about the volunteering roles and responsibilities undertaken. This can be done by categorizing volunteer experience under a separate heading titled Volunteer Experience. By doing so, it avoids any ambiguity and emphasizes the value and relevance of this experience.

Volunteer Experience within Career Transition

Volunteer experience can be particularly advantageous for individuals looking to make a career transition. Including volunteer work under the work experience section provides an opportunity to highlight transferable skills gained from unrelated industries or fields. This allows individuals to showcase their adaptability, passion for learning, and commitment to personal growth, making them more marketable to potential employers.

Supplementing Limited Work Experience

For individuals with limited work experience, including volunteer experience under the work experience section can be highly beneficial. It serves as evidence of practical skills, dedication, and a strong work ethic to potential employers. Sharing specific accomplishments and responsibilities from volunteering experiences can compensate for the restricted professional experience and create a comprehensive picture of the candidate’s abilities.

Tailoring Volunteer Experience for Different Industries

As with any work experience, volunteer experience can be tailored to suit different industries. Whether it be through highlighting specific tasks, accomplishments, or skills gained during volunteer work, individuals can emphasize their suitability for a particular industry or role. Tailoring volunteer experience adds depth and relevance to the resume, demonstrating the ability to transfer skills and experiences to a professional setting.

When considering whether to include volunteer experience under the Work Experience section of a professional resume, there are a few important factors to take into account. While volunteer work may not involve monetary compensation, it can still provide valuable skills and demonstrate your commitment to giving back to the community.

Here are some points to consider when deciding to include volunteer experience under work experience:

  1. Relevance: Evaluate the relevance of your volunteer experience to the position you are applying for. If your volunteer work aligns with the skills and responsibilities required in the job, it can be a powerful addition to your work experience section. For example, if you volunteered as a team leader or project coordinator, these roles may demonstrate leadership and organizational skills.
  2. Transferable Skills: Identify the transferable skills gained through your volunteer work that are applicable to the position you are seeking. Skills such as communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and adaptability acquired during volunteering can be just as valuable as those gained in paid employment.
  3. Duration and Commitment: Consider the duration and level of commitment you dedicated to your volunteer role. If you have been involved in long-term volunteer positions or have taken on significant responsibilities within an organization, it may be worth including this experience under work experience to showcase your dedication and reliability.
  4. Professionalism: Highlight how you approached your volunteer work with professionalism and treated it as seriously as paid employment. Emphasize any accomplishments or achievements attained during your volunteer experience to convey the level of commitment and impact you made.
  5. Space Limitations: If you have limited space on your resume or already have extensive paid work experience, you may choose to create a separate section for volunteer experience. Consider using a Volunteer Experience or Community Involvement section to ensure it is still prominently featured on your resume.

In conclusion, including volunteer experience under the Work Experience section of a resume can be beneficial if the experience is relevant, demonstrates transferable skills, showcases dedication, professionalism, and aligns with the position you are applying for. It allows potential employers to see your commitment to making a difference and highlights additional qualities that may set you apart from other candidates.

Thank you for visiting our blog and taking the time to read our article on whether you can put volunteer experience under work experience without a title. We hope that this post has provided you with valuable insights and guidance on how to effectively showcase your volunteer experience in your professional resume. As you continue to navigate the job market, it is essential to present yourself in the best possible light, and including your volunteer work can be a powerful tool in demonstrating your skills and dedication.

Firstly, it is important to recognize that volunteer experience can be just as valuable as paid work experience. Whether you have volunteered at a local community center, a nonprofit organization, or an international charity, the skills and knowledge gained from these experiences are often transferable to various professional settings. By including your volunteer work under your work experience section, you not only highlight your commitment to giving back to the community but also emphasize the relevant skills you have acquired.

Moreover, presenting your volunteer experience alongside your work experience can enhance your overall profile and make you a more well-rounded candidate. Employers are increasingly seeking individuals who possess not only the necessary technical skills but also the ability to collaborate, communicate effectively, and demonstrate empathy. Volunteering often provides opportunities to develop and strengthen these soft skills, which are highly valued in today’s workplace. Therefore, by including your volunteer work as part of your work experience, you are providing employers with a more comprehensive view of your abilities and potential.

In conclusion, while it is not necessary to use a specific title for your volunteer experience, it is definitely acceptable to include it under your work experience section on your resume. Highlighting your volunteer work in this manner allows you to showcase the skills and knowledge gained from these experiences, making you a more competitive candidate in the job market. Remember, volunteering is not only a way to contribute to society but also a means to enhance your professional growth. So, don’t hesitate to leverage your volunteer experience and demonstrate your commitment to making a positive impact in both your personal and professional life.

Thank you once again for visiting our blog, and we hope you found this article informative and useful. If you have any further questions or would like more career-related tips, feel free to explore our other articles. Best of luck in your future endeavors!


People also ask about whether they can put volunteer experience under work experience. Here are some commonly asked questions and their answers:

1. Can you include volunteer experience in the work experience section of your resume?

  • It is generally acceptable to include volunteer experience in the work experience section of your resume.
  • However, it is important to clearly differentiate between paid work experience and volunteer work experience.
  • You can list your volunteer experience under a separate heading such as Volunteer Experience or Community Involvement.

2. How do you showcase volunteer experience on a resume?

  • When showcasing volunteer experience on your resume, make sure to provide specific details about your roles, responsibilities, and accomplishments.
  • Include the name of the organization, your position, the dates of your volunteer work, and a brief description of what you did.
  • Highlight any relevant skills or achievements gained through your volunteer experience that are applicable to the job you are applying for.

3. Can volunteer experience be considered as work experience?

  • While volunteer experience may not be considered as traditional paid work experience, it still holds value.
  • Volunteer work can demonstrate your commitment, skills, and ability to contribute to a cause or organization.
  • Employers often appreciate candidates with volunteer experience as it showcases their dedication, teamwork, and passion.

4. Should I prioritize work experience over volunteer experience on my resume?

  • The answer to this question depends on the specific job you are applying for and the relevance of your work and volunteer experiences.
  • If your volunteer experience is closely related to the position you are seeking, it is recommended to prioritize it and highlight its relevance.
  • However, if you have extensive paid work experience that directly aligns with the job requirements, it may be more beneficial to prioritize that instead.

5. Can I use volunteer experience to fill gaps in my work history?

  • Yes, volunteer experience can be a great way to fill gaps in your work history.
  • If you have periods of unemployment or limited paid work experience, including relevant volunteer work can help showcase your skills, dedication, and continuity of engagement.
  • Just make sure to clearly indicate the volunteer nature of the experience to avoid any confusion.

Remember, every resume is unique, so it’s essential to tailor your approach based on your specific circumstances and the job you are applying for.

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