Volunteering And Your CV

The material below has been directly sourced from NUI Galway's Community Knowledge Initiative.
How to Put Volunteering on Your CV
Volunteering is a great way to gain practical work experience in a supportive environment. So take note of the skills you are learning through your volunteering work. This learning will be invaluable as you progress with your career. Did you know that Ďwhen recruiting, employers value volunteering more than hobbies and travel on a CV with 80% of employers rating volunteering as important, 66% rating hobbies as important and 54% rating travel as important' (source).

Interview Questions and Your Volunteering Role
In an interview process it is really useful to have done volunteering work. This work experience demonstrates to potential employers you have gained practical work skills during your academic training. So the make best use of your commitment to volunteering by informing potential employers about the skills you acquired during your volunteering role.
Keep a record of your personal development and the skills you picked up during your volunteering role (use the reflective portfolio required for the PVA application).
The following questions are designed to help you make the most of the experience you gained as a volunteer and complete your reflective portfolio.  
  • Have you worked as part of a team? What have you learnt about team work?
  • Have you had to improve your time management? In what ways have you had to organise yourself as a volunteer?
  • Did you have to use different communication styles during your volunteering role - what were these styles, what did you learn from this experience?
  • Have you had to negotiate with anyone Ė and if so, what have you learnt about your own abilities as a negotiator?
  • Have you had to be adaptable as a volunteer? In what ways?
  • In what ways have you had to use your own initiative?
  • What problems have you had to deal with in the course of your volunteering? How did you overcome them?
  • What news skills did you acquire?
  • Did you have to show leadership skills as a volunteer?
  • Did you have any special areas of responsibility?
  • What qualities and attitudes did you need to make a success of your volunteering?
  • What have you most enjoyed about volunteering?
  • What are you most proud of?

What about updating my CV to reflect my volunteering work?
It is a good idea to update your CV as you update your knowledge, skills and experience.

Remember volunteering provides you with practical work skills and experience e.g. Team Building, Communication Skills, Time Management Skills, Political Insights, Moral & ethical reasoning, Collaborative problem solving, Policy development, Role/structure and organisation of boards of management.

Did you know:
The PVA award recognises your commitment to volunteering so be sure to show employers that the University of Limerick acknowledged your volunteer work. Donít be shy about putting your volunteering work experience on your CV.  It demonstrates to employers that you have both academic knowledge and practical work skills, A great combination!

Also reflect on your learning experience and the skills you acquired during your volunteer work and present these skills on your CV. Have a look at the University of Limerick Careers Website for more information on CV preparation. If you would like help with preparing or updating your CV (before or after your volunteer work) you can contact Patsy Ryan, Careers Advisor. 
Careers in the NGO (non-governmental organisations) sector
Ever thought about a career in the charitable or non-governmental sector?  There are a number of websites with career information and they also advertise jobs in the sector.   Volunteering experience is a must for a position in these organisations.