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Andrew Arkley|May 10, 2024

Volunteer CV: How To Include Volunteering On A CV

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In this guide we’ll cover how to include volunteering on CVs. We’ll also explore how to write a strong overall volunteer CV for when you’re pursuing a new volunteering opportunity.

According to statistics from the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, approximately 12m people in England take part in formal volunteering at least once during 12 months.

When writing your CV, there are several situations where adding volunteer work could be a differentiator in your application. And this guide will also cover how to write a CV specifically for when you’re applying to volunteer roles too.

The role and responsibilities of a volunteer can be broad and varied, great for those looking to enjoy wide-ranging career experiences and build up a diverse skill set. Let’s explore how to write a great volunteer CV.

Reasons to include your volunteering work on a CV

When you’re applying for a new job, there are lots of reasons why you might want to include some previous volunteer experience on the CV.

They include:

  • You’re applying for a volunteer role: In which case, feel free to skip ahead a couple of sections and read on from ‘Dos and don’ts’!
  • The volunteer work is relevant to the job vacancy you’re applying for: If it’s relevant, then it’s worth including. The question then is whether to include it within your main career history section or lower down, which we’ll discuss shortly.
  • You’re changing careers: If you don’t have much relevant work experience in your new chosen profession, volunteering is a good way to make a start.
  • The volunteer work showcases relevant skills: For example, if the job you’re applying for requires customer service skills, but your only experience of that was from volunteering at a charity shop, include it.
  • You have gaps in your CV: If your career history section is light, including volunteer work could be a good way to bulk it out.
  • You’re a recent graduate: Similarly, if you’re early in your career and have had only one or perhaps even no previous jobs, any volunteer work you describe could help showcase your skills.

Now that’s covered, where should your volunteering experience go on the CV?

Where to put your volunteering work on a CV

Here are the different ways to include your previous volunteering work on a CV:

  • Within your career history: This is more likely if you feel there’s not enough to say about your paid work history so far. If you’re a recent graduate, had a long gap in employment or you’re a career changer, you’re more likely to include the volunteer work within your main career history section.
  • In a separate CV section: It’s all about priorities. If you have a strong career history section, describing responsibilities and achievements that are highly relevant to the role, there may not be space for your volunteer work. But if it’ll still add value to your CV, create a separate ‘Volunteer work’ section lower down on your CV / on the second page.

Now let’s look at some general CV dos and don’ts.

Dos and don’ts

For a full overview and our general tips, here’s how to write a CV – our comprehensive guide.


  • Put your photo on a CV in the UK.
  • Include personal details such as your marital status or age.
  • Write lies on your CV.
  • Include volunteer work if it’s not relevant or if you don’t have enough space on an already strong CV.


Including a skills section on your CV is one way to clearly show the organisation that you have the qualities they’re looking for. Or if you prefer, work your hard and soft skills into your personal statement, work history section and so on.

Some of your skills will be more useful for a particular role than others, so think about which ones are most relevant and prioritise these.

In most cases, it helps to provide evidence of your skills and achievements. Sometimes it’s tricky to find facts or figures to back up your achievements as a volunteer, but do your best.

These achievements will stand out more in context. To explain your best facts and figures, use the STAR method – make sure you’ve covered the situation, task, action and result.

If you want to give a long or complex STAR example and don’t have enough space on your CV, add it to your cover letter. Even if a prospective employer doesn’t ask for one, providing a cover letter can make you stand out by converting more of your personality and passion for the opportunity than a CV can.

Volunteer CV example

[Name] – [Address] – [Phone number] – [Email address]

Personal Statement

Use a few lines to promote who you are, what you can offer and your career aims, showing how you stand out and what makes you unique. Here’s an example first sentence:

Passionate fundraiser with 5 years of experience raising money for good causes in my local community.

Key Skills

Include your best skills on your CV, either in a section like this or worked in naturally elsewhere:

  • Budget management
  • Fundraising
  • Customer service
  • Problem-solving
  • Proofreading
  • Fluent in Spanish

Career History / Volunteering Experience

This section will vary depending on whether you’re applying for a volunteering role, or for a paid job but want to also include some previous volunteer experience. You could have one CV section called something like Career History and include your volunteering experience within it, or if you’re only describing volunteer work here, call it Volunteering Experience or similar. Alternatively, you could have two separate sections – your (paid) Career History and your Volunteering Experience. Again, it depends on your specific circumstances.

Either way, list your previous roles and organisations, in reverse chronological order, including the dates. Then, add bullet points to describe your most relevant achievements and responsibilities for example:

[Role, organisation] [Dates]

  • Oversaw the organisation’s annual fundraiser 5 years in a row, raising £11,000 on average per year

Qualifications and Education

Start by listing any relevant qualifications, then your education details: 

  • [Qualification(s) / certification(s) obtained] [Dates]
  • [University name, degree subject, grade] [Dates]
  • [School name, A-Levels, grades] [Dates]
  • [School name, GCSEs, grades] [Dates]


This section is optional if you’re short of space. Any interests you include should ideally strengthen your overall application in some way.

Coaching my son’s town U7s football team on Sundays throughout the season. 

References available on request

Final thoughts: Our volunteering on CV tips

No matter your career stage, volunteer work is always well worth considering if you can spare the time.

Not only can it provide a purposeful working experience, you could also leave a lasting social impact.

If you’re a student with limited or no prior work experience, volunteering is a great way to build up your CV. In addition, here are some of the best jobs for students.

And if you need some support, we offer a CV writing service – for volunteer roles, or those wanting help showcasing their previous volunteer experience in general. Please get in touch to find out how we can help!

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