Does Volunteering Work Count As Employment?

does volunteering count as employment

Have you ever considered volunteering your time for a good cause? It’s an amazing way to give back to the community, meet some great people, and learn new skills while at it. But here’s a question that you might have asked yourself, especially if you’ve been volunteering for a while now: Does volunteering count as employment?

In today’s competitive job market, people are constantly seeking ways to enhance their employability and stand out among their peers.

One way that has gained considerable attention is volunteering. Volunteering involves dedicating time and skills to contribute to community or nonprofit organizations without monetary compensation.

In this article, we will help you understand how volunteering can benefit your professional journey and whether volunteering counts as employment.

What Is Volunteering?

Volunteering is giving one’s time, skills, or resources to help or support individuals, communities, organizations, or causes without expecting monetary compensation. It is selfless service, charitable work done by people to positively impact the lives of others or contribute to the general welfare of society.

Volunteering can be very rewarding in terms of work experience as it often allows people to develop new skills. This knowledge comes into play immediately upon completion of the volunteer work.

And, because most volunteers enjoy their work, completing a volunteer project positions them well for future opportunities.

Additionally, many companies rely heavily on volunteers because they do not have the right staff for specific positions or jobs.

Read: When is Student Volunteering Week in 2024?

What Are The Benefits Of Volunteering?

Volunteering provides many benefits to both mental and physical health.

1. It increases your self-confidence

Volunteering can benefit your self-esteem, life happiness, and self-confidence. You will feel naturally accomplished since you are helping people and the community.

Your volunteer work may make you feel proud of and connected to yourself. The more confident you feel in yourself, the more likely you will have a good outlook on your life and future aspirations.

2. Volunteering fights depression

Reducing the risk of depression is another important benefit of volunteering. A key risk factor for depression is social isolation. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others. It helps you develop a solid support system, which protects you against stress and depression when you’re going through challenging times.

3. It helps you meet new friends

Volunteering is a great way to meet new friends and strengthen connections with friends, family, or coworkers. As a volunteer, you’ll typically interact with people from diverse backgrounds, which allows you to learn other perspectives.

Consider the individuals you will volunteer with when selecting an organization or cause. Building stronger connections with others around you will be easier if you have a shared interest.

4. Volunteering reduces stress, anger, and anxiety

The social contact aspect of helping and working with others can profoundly affect your overall psychological well-being. Nothing relieves stress better than a meaningful connection to another person. 

Also, read: How To Become A Social Worker? What Qualifications Do You Need?

5. Volunteering increases your social skills

Volunteering allows you to talk to new people and sharpen your social skills. You can develop your future personal and business relationships by working with others and using social skills like active listening and relationship management.

6. Opens you up to job prospects

You could meet people while volunteering who might become your mentors or, at the very least, a part of your professional social network in addition to gaining valuable skills and experience. The contacts you create might also improve your employment prospects if you decide to pursue a profession in the area where you volunteer.

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Does Volunteering Count As Work Experience?

Volunteering counts as job experience. It qualifies as job experience in the same way as regular employment. Your voluntary work should be listed on your resume to increase your chance of being hired. It is ideal if your volunteer work is connected to the particular position you seek.

If your volunteering work relates directly to the job you are applying for, you can include it under ‘work experience.’ This means it counts as work experience if you learned and developed skills related to the job you are applying for.

However, if your volunteer work was more general or doesn’t relate directly to the job you are applying for, you should put it under ‘Volunteering Experience.’

If you’re a student or recent graduate, volunteer work may help you exhibit your relevant abilities in an industry. You can also add volunteer work to your resume if it corresponds to your profession or if it helps you obtain a relevant skill.

Do Employers Consider Volunteering As Employment?

Employers increasingly acknowledge that volunteering offers valuable experiences that can be directly transferable to the workplace. Skills acquired through volunteering, such as teamwork, leadership, communication, problem-solving, and project management, often align with the skills required in various professional settings.

As a result, employers may view volunteering as relevant experience, appreciating that volunteers have likely developed skills that can contribute to their organizations.

Employers and recruiters skim an unimaginable volume of CVs regularly. Including a volunteering section can be the difference between getting a second glance or being instantly sifted out. Volunteering experiences are an additional chance to show that your personality aligns with the company culture. They can demonstrate an eagerness to learn and grow, and most importantly, they highlight that you like to spend your free time proactively.

As part of a survey conducted by Deloitte, US recruiters, hiring managers, and those who influence their opinions, 82% stated those with volunteering experience on their CV would be more likely to be hired, with 85% suggesting that the inclusion of volunteering experience would result in candidate flaws being overlooked. The overall findings of this survey suggest that volunteerism may contribute significantly to raising a candidate above their competition.

Can I Include Volunteering Experience In My Resume?

Volunteer work is often as valuable and important for your career as paid work.  Listing volunteer work on your resume can demonstrate to potential employers that you are community-minded, experienced in working with people from diverse backgrounds, and have a range of transferable skills.

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Does Volunteering Increase Employability?

Volunteering can significantly increase employability and enhance a person’s resume. Here’s how:

1. Enhancement of Soft Skills

Volunteering provides a fertile ground for cultivating and refining soft skills, crucial attributes beyond technical competence. Interpersonal skills, communication, teamwork, problem-solving, adaptability, and leadership are examples of soft skills that are honed through volunteering experiences.

Working with diverse groups of people, coordinating activities, and addressing challenges in a volunteer setting allows individuals to develop these skills in real-world contexts.

2. Demonstration of Initiative and Motivation

Volunteering showcases an individual’s initiative and motivation to contribute positively to society. Employers value candidates who exhibit a proactive attitude, which volunteering inherently encourages.

When job applicants can present instances where they have taken the initiative to make a difference outside their professional sphere, it signals a commitment to personal growth and community development.

This proactive approach translates into the workplace, where employees who willingly take on challenges and seek opportunities for improvement are highly sought after.

SEE ALSO: What Are The Benefits Of A Work Placement?

3. Building a Network and References

Volunteering exposes individuals to a network of like-minded people and professionals with similar values. Networking within the volunteering community can lead to mentorship opportunities, partnerships, and referrals.

Additionally, volunteer supervisors and colleagues can serve as references, providing firsthand insight into the individual’s work ethic, character, and accomplishments. Employers often value references from volunteer experiences as they provide a broader perspective on the applicant’s abilities and personal qualities.

5. Evidence of Commitment and Alignment with Values

When an individual devotes time to volunteering, it reflects their commitment to social responsibility and community involvement. Employers increasingly prioritize corporate social responsibility and value candidates who align with these principles.

Volunteering experiences can provide concrete examples of an applicant’s commitment to causes that resonate with the organization’s values, making them more appealing to employers seeking individuals who share their ethical and social priorities.

How To List Volunteer Work On A Resume

You would list volunteer work on a resume in the same way that you would pay 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 

Can Volunteering Help Me Secure A Job?

Volunteering is a perfect addition to any resume or job application. It not only demonstrates your dedication to producing worthwhile work, but it also makes you stand out from the competition. Why, then, does volunteering make you more employable?

Volunteering can help you learn and develop transferable work skills, including leadership, communication, organization, cooperation, initiative, decision-making, and problem-solving.

Volunteering demonstrates that you have acquired pertinent abilities that a future employer may find vital. If you have volunteer experience, a prospective employer may give your job application a second look.

Volunteering benefits high school students who have not yet had a proper job. This can be the first step to starting your career. On the other hand, some students prefer to begin with a part-time job.

FAQs On Does Volunteering Work Count as Employment

Can volunteering lead to employment opportunities?

Yes, volunteering can sometimes lead to employment opportunities. While volunteering is not employment, it can provide valuable experience, skills, and networking connections that might make you a more attractive candidate for paid positions within the same organization or field.

Are there any legal distinctions between volunteering and employment?

Yes, there are legal distinctions between volunteering and employment. Employment typically involves a formal work agreement, compensation, and legal obligations related to minimum wage, working hours, and labor laws. On the other hand, volunteers usually don’t have employment contracts and aren’t entitled to monetary compensation for their services.

Can volunteers receive benefits or incentives for their work?

Yes, volunteers can sometimes receive benefits or incentives for their work, but these are usually non-monetary. Organizations might offer perks like training, event access, or recognition for volunteers’ contributions.


Volunteer work is a great thing. It can and should be listed as work experience if it’s relevant to the role to which you’re applying. It can help you get a job offer you’re excited about.

List it appropriately on your resume or job application, and be ready to discuss it in your interview if you’re asked about it.


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