• Volunteering

How to Include Your Volunteering Experience on Your CV

Article by GVI


Posted: April 1, 2023

Volunteering experience can be a valuable addition to your CV, as it showcases your skills, commitment and dedication. But how can you make the most of your volunteer work when presenting it to potential employers? In this article, we’ll guide you through the process and offer tips on how to effectively include your volunteering experiences on your CV.

Understanding the Value of Volunteering Experience

Before exploring the specifics of adding volunteering experience to your CV, it’s important to first understand the benefits this type of experience can offer you in your career search. Volunteering is not only a way to give back to your community, but it can also be a valuable asset to your professional development.

Volunteering provides you with the opportunity to develop valuable skills that can be applied in the workplace. For example, if you volunteer at a non-profit organisation, you may gain experience in fundraising, event planning or marketing. These skills can be transferable to a variety of industries and can make you a more well-rounded candidate.

Additionally, volunteering can help you build a network of contacts. You may meet people who work in your desired industry or who can connect you with job opportunities. These connections can be invaluable when it comes to finding a job.

Gaining real-world experience through volunteering is another benefit. You may be able to work on projects or tasks that are similar to those you would encounter in a paid position. This experience can help you stand out to employers and give you a competitive edge in the job market.

It’s important to note that volunteering also exemplifies a strong work ethic and a commitment to the betterment of others. These are qualities that can set you apart from other candidates in today’s competitive job market. Employers want to hire individuals who are not only skilled but also have a passion for making a difference in the world.

How employers view volunteering experience

Many employers view volunteering as an asset, particularly if your volunteer work aligns with the company’s values, mission or the specific role you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a position in a non-profit organisation, having volunteer experience in a similar organisation can demonstrate your commitment to the cause and make you a more attractive candidate.

In some cases, volunteering experience can even tip the scale in your favour when employers are choosing between similarly qualified candidates. Employers want to see that you have a well-rounded background and are committed to making a positive impact in the world.

In conclusion, volunteering experience can be a valuable asset in your career search. It provides you with the opportunity to develop skills, build a network of contacts, gain real-world experience and demonstrate a commitment to making a positive impact in the world. When adding volunteering experience to your CV, be sure to highlight the skills you gained and the impact you made. This can help you stand out to employers and increase your chances of landing your dream job.

Deciding Which Volunteering Experiences to Include

When deciding which volunteer experiences to include on your CV, consider the following factors:

Relevance to the job you’re applying for

Choose experiences that are relevant to the position you’re applying for or that showcase transferable skills. Focus on projects that demonstrate your competence in areas such as project management, communication, problem-solving or collaboration.

Duration and commitment level

Highlight long-term volunteering experiences or those where you held significant responsibilities. This will help demonstrate your commitment and ability to follow through on tasks.

Skills gained and accomplishments

Select experiences that showcase your achievements and tangible results. For instance, if you helped raise funds for a non-profit organisation, include the amount raised or the percentage increase in donations from previous years.

How to Present Your Volunteering Experience on Your CV

Once you’ve determined which experiences to showcase, consider the following approaches for presenting your volunteering experience:

Creating a separate volunteering section

Add a dedicated “Volunteering Experience” section to your CV if you have multiple relevant experiences or if volunteering has played a substantial role in your career development. List the organisation’s name, your role, and the time period, followed by a brief description of your responsibilities and achievements.

Integrating volunteering experience with work experience

In cases where your volunteering experience is directly related to your professional field, consider integrating it with your work experience section. List your volunteer work in chronological order alongside your paid positions, clearly indicating the volunteer status of the role.

Highlighting transferable skills

Emphasise the transferable skills you developed during your volunteering experiences, such as leadership, teamwork, time management or problem-solving. Include specific examples of situations where you applied these skills during your volunteer work.

Describing Your Volunteering Roles and Responsibilities

When detailing your volunteer roles, keep these tips in mind:

Using action verbs and quantifiable achievements

Begin each bullet point with an action verb, such as “led,” “organised,” or “assisted.” Where possible, quantify your achievements by providing numbers, percentages or other measurable outcomes.

Focusing on skills and knowledge gained

Highlight the specific skills and knowledge you acquired during your volunteering experiences, focusing on those most relevant to the position you’re applying for.

Showcasing leadership and teamwork abilities

Emphasise moments where you demonstrated leadership, teamwork or other interpersonal skills. Provide examples of projects you managed, teams you led or situations where you collaborated with others to achieve a common goal.

Including Additional Volunteering-Related Information

Consider including these additional elements to further strengthen the impact of your volunteering experience on your CV:

Certificates and awards received

List any awards or certificates you received for your volunteering work. These recognitions can help validate your achievements and demonstrate your dedication and skills to potential employers.

Volunteering-related training and courses

Include any relevant training, courses or certifications you completed as part of your volunteering experience. This demonstrates your commitment to continued learning and self-improvement.

Testimonials and references from volunteer supervisors

Consider obtaining testimonials from volunteer supervisors or colleagues who can vouch for your skills, dedication and accomplishments. Include their contact information in your list of references, making sure to ask for their permission beforehand.

Tips for Making Your Volunteering Experience Stand Out

To maximise the impact of your volunteering experience on your CV, follow these best practices:

Tailoring your CV for each job application

Customise your volunteering experiences and the skills you highlight based on the needs and requirements of each specific job application. This demonstrates your attention to detail and your commitment to finding the right fit.

Emphasising the impact of your volunteering work

Showcase the positive impact your volunteering efforts had on the organisations and communities you served. This can help your CV stand out and demonstrate your value to potential employers.

Keeping your CV concise and well-organised

Ensure your CV remains clear and easy to read by keeping the content concise and well-organised. Use bullet points and subheadings to guide the reader through your various experiences and skills effectively.

In conclusion, incorporating your volunteering experience into your CV can offer significant benefits in your job search. By showcasing your skills, dedication, and achievements, you can set yourself apart from the competition and demonstrate your value to potential employers.

If you’re thinking about joining a GVI volunteer program abroad, it can be a fantastic opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. You’ll get to work closely with other volunteers and staff, which will help you develop your teamwork and collaboration skills. And since you’ll be working in a new environment, you’ll need to use your problem-solving skills to address any challenges that come up. Plus, you might even have the chance to take on a leadership role and lead activities or projects. And on top of all that, you’ll be contributing to the environment and the community and doing your part to create a sustainable future. All in all, it’s a great way to gain some practical skills while making a difference in the world!

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