Does Volunteering Count As Work Experience: Impacts, Pros, Cons & More

In general, most employers believe that volunteering counts as work experience and can result in a boost to your resume. 

Many people do voluntary work in their spare time, either for charity or as a hobby. There are many different types of volunteer work, from working with children at a daycare center to tutoring students in school. 

Volunteering can give you the experience you can use when looking for a job and teach you new skills you can use in your career. It’s a great way to connect with people and learn new things.

Read on to get the full gist about volunteering and how it counts as work experience.

What is Volunteering?

Volunteering is work. It’s a way for people to get experience and training in the workplace while helping others. For many young people, volunteering is their first step toward a career. 

In terms of work expe­rience, volunteering can be very beneficial because it often provides people with new skills. These skills are applicable immediately after completing their volunteer project. 

And, since most volunteers are passionate about what they do, completing a volunteer project puts them in an excellent position for future opportunities. 

Additionally, many companies rely on volunteers extensively due to the shortage of qualified professionals for specific positions or projects. 

For these reasons alone, volunteering at least once during your lifetime is highly recommended.

How Does Volunteering Count as Work Experience?

1. Volunteering can help you gain work-related skills and experience

Volunteering can be work experience if it enables you to develop job-related skills and knowledge. Volunteering can be a great way to gain experience that would help you land a job more efficiently. 

For example, if you’re looking for work as an accountant, volunteering to do bookkeeping at your local soup kitchen may count as enough work experience to qualify you for the position. 

By giving specifics about what skills and experiences you’ve gained from volunteer­ing, employers can see how those qualities might apply to working for them. 

2. Volunteering can help you develop a better work ethic and networking skills

Volunteering can be a great way to build your work ethic and learn more about the business world. When you volunteer, it shows that you’re dedicated to getting experience in an area of interest. 

This can help set you apart from other job applicants and give you valuable skills for future employment opportunities. 

Volunteering can also help you build your network of contacts. This way, you can connect with people in positions of power who could help you later in your career. 

By doing volunteer work, you can learn how to interact with people, deal with difficult situations and manage a schedule effectively. This is all good preparation for when you start looking for a full-time job.

3. Giving back through volunteer work also makes you more morally upright

Volunteering does count as work experience. If you receive real-world experience in a formal setting, such as an organization or company, you can consider it work experience.

Besides, it’s one of the best ways to gain valuable job skills and build moral character. 

Volunteering has many incredible benefits, like giving back to society and improving your moral character. 

Through volunteer work, you learn how to cooperate and take responsibility for your actions rather than taking advantage of others.

4. Volunteering can help build your resume and career prospects

Volunteering can offer you an excellent opportunity to build your resume and career prospects. When you volunteer, you get the chance to learn new skills or help others. 

It can also show potential employers that you are proactive and passionate about helping others. 

This means that volunteering may help improve your chances of getting a job in the future if you are looking for a position that requires some form of work experience.

5. Volunteering increases employability

Volunteering provides people with real-world experience that will help them get a job. Volunteering allows you to learn new things, develop personal skills, and make valuable connections. 

It can also lead to opportunities for career growth by showing employers what you’re capable of doing. 

By volunteering, you are building your work resume and making yourself more attractive to potential employers who want qualified workers on their staff.

Further, volunteering can also give you firsthand insights into the workplace that could aid you when applying for jobs or interviewing.

Do Employers See Volunteering as a Work Experience?

Employers see volunteering as a good work experience, primarily if it builds skills that can be transferred to full-time employment. 

Sometimes, companies will even offer internships and part-time positions based on volunteers’ experiences while helping out in the community. 

Even though not all jobs are available to everyone, volunteering allows people to learn about different career paths and industry sectors before starting a job.

Others view volunteering through the prism of good corporate citizenship. Thus, they may consider participation mandatory in specific workplace programs such as sustainability initiatives or disaster relief work.

Volunteering also allows employees with unique talents to share their insight and knowledge with others rather than staying behind closed doors.

How to Include Volunteer Work on a Resume 

To include volunteer work on a resume, you should start by finding ways to show how your skills and experience can be put to use in the community. 

Consider listing non-profit organizations you’ve worked with, dates, hours spent volunteering, and what assistance was needed (administrative support, marketing campaigns, event planning).

Next, you’ll want to detail any individual volunteering experiences which have led to valuable real-world learnings (e.g., job shadowing someone at a nonprofit organization). 

Finally, if there are specific areas where volunteer experience has helped develop your skillset, highlight them as well.

For example, “through my experience working with disadvantaged youth, I learned about stressing factors leading up absenteeism from school.”

What is the Difference Between Traditional Employment and Volunteering?

Traditional employment is when a person holds a job that an employer has given them. This type of work typically has set hours and days pays regular wages and offers some degree of job security. 

Volunteerism, on the other hand, is when someone does something for no monetary gain apart from the satisfaction or good feeling that it gives them. 

People can volunteer their time in many ways, including helping at soup kitchens or homeless shelters. 

It also involves supporting marginalized groups such as immigrants or refugees and tutoring pupils in underprivileged schools. 

Some people also work with animals at sanctuaries, write grant proposals, campaign for political causes, etc…

Both systems have pros and cons, but choosing which works best is up to you!

Pros of Volunteering 

  • Volunteering can give you a sense of satisfaction and purpose
  • Volunteering can help develop social skills and connections
  • Volunteering can make you more knowledgeable about different areas of the world
  • Volunteering can provide opportunities to take on new challenges
  • Volunteer work can be flexible, so it works well for people who have busy schedules or travel restrictions

Cons of Volunteering 

  • Volunteering can be tiring and time-consuming 
  • There is a chance that you will not get what you expected from volunteering
  • You may end up feeling overwhelmed or stressed
  • Volunteers are often required to work long hours for little or no pay
  • Giving back does not always mean joining a nonprofit organization


Can you use volunteer work as a reference?

Yes. Volunteer work is an excellent reference because it shows the person can handle complex tasks and take on new challenges. 

It also demonstrates good planning skills since they could plan their time to participate in many different opportunities.

What counts as volunteer work on a resume?

Volunteer work can take many forms, from helping the elderly at home to philanthropic events or organizations like the Red Cross. 

Be sure to list all of the volunteer activities that you have participated in on your resume whenever possible.

Can volunteering turn into a job?

Yes. If someone desires long-term sustainable employment, volunteering can be a valuable training opportunity that opens many doors.

How long should you do volunteer work?

You can do volunteer work for as little as an hour, or you could dedicate your whole life to doing some­thing special. 

It all depends on your interests and how much time you want to invest in your volunteering experience.

Final Thoughts 

While some might argue that volunteering does not count as “work experience, ” many employers consider it valuable training and a way to get your feet wet in the workforce. 

Volunteering can be a great way to get work experience and develop new skills. Volunteering can give you skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, communication, customer service, and more. 

By doing volunteer work, you can learn what it is like to work under pressure and unique circumstances, which will help prepare you for a career in business or nonprofit.

Explore significant reasons why you need a resume for your first job.

Thanks for reading.