Volunteer Resume: Examples and Tips

Volunteer work in social services involves diverse responsibilities ranging from administrative tasks, fundraising and marketing to social work projects. The work hours depend on the job position as well as the availability of the volunteer. Charity organizations, local authorities, nonprofit organizations and private trusts hire volunteers.

Peruse our resume examples and tips to polish up your own resume for volunteer opportunities.

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Top 4 Characteristics of a Best-in-Class Volunteer Resume

  1. Summary  Communicate your willingness to help and your passion for the sector the organization belongs to, e.g., environmental welfare or health care. Write a brief description of your top skills and experience. For example: “Energetic and dependable health care volunteer seeking to utilize my clinical skills for patient care. Experience in performing hospital administrative tasks and assisting health care professionals.”
  2. Skills Whether it’s your first job as a volunteer or you have experience in this field, most organizations mainly look for soft skills. This job requires reliability, commitment, strong interpersonal and communication skills, problem-solving skills and adaptability. You should also mention specific skills that you may have gained, such as budget management and fundraising for a community welfare project or your social media marketing skills.
  3. Work History Volunteer work involves helping people overcome varied life challenges. Show quantifiable work experiences that proves your performance in this action-driven role. For example: “Designed and executed system to track work hours for 50 volunteers.” Or, “Managed and distributed aid supplies to flood-stricken town of 2,000 residents.”
  4. Education Begin with your highest qualification, followed by other courses and certifications that you’ve completed or are in the process of completing. Add specialized skills like Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification, which would be an added advantage if you are applying for volunteer work in the healthcare sector.

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Do’s and Don’ts for Your Resume

  • Do highlight all types volunteer experience Volunteering work ranges from traditional volunteer work at an NGO to voluntourism, gap year volunteering and online volunteering. While mentioning your work history, specify the type of volunteer work, including the sector or industry. For example: “Volunteering at a hospice” or “Blogging on human rights and online fundraising for the rehabilitation of human trafficking victims.”
  • Do make sure your resume is up to date Before you submit your job application, update your resume with the relevant contact information, your recent qualifications (completed or in the process of completion) and current work experience. If you have a permanent job and are looking for a part-time volunteer job, mention the skills and experience you’ve accumulated from a full-time job.
  • Do emphasize the positive While volunteer work helps broaden your life experiences, you may have also had to face harsh life realities. Don’t focus on the negative aspects of previous jobs (for example, dealing with bureaucratic issues, or difficult housing conditions) when describing your work. Instead, focus on successful results and the role you play in them. For example: “Planned and coordinated the construction of 20 homes for a poverty-stricken community.”
  • Don’t use a complicated or unprofessional email address Using an inappropriate or unprofessional email address in your contact information can hinder your securing a volunteering job. Show recruiters that you’re serious and reliable about your work, and avoid silly usernames such as boomshakalaka, and create an email that uses your actual name, such as JohnSmith94.
  • Don’t lie in your resume Make sure you don’t lie or make false claims about your qualifications or work experience (for example, lying about receiving a ‘Coordinator of the Month’ award in an NGO). Don’t compensate for your lack of experience with false facts. Instead, focus on the skills you do have, and communicate your willingness and ability to pick up new skills.
  • Don’t include irrelevant job information While writing your resume, you may want to recount all your benevolent deeds to make the best possible impression on the recruiter. However, don’t make the resume your autobiography, with minute details of each job. (For example, do not elaborate on the details of volunteering at a one-day charity event.) Instead, focus on your successes with sustained volunteer work. For example: “Created an automated cloud database of 8,000 clients and implemented data segregation based on client demographics.”