How to Competitively Apply to Volunteer Opportunities Abroad

how to competitively apply to volunteer opportunities

For unpaid positions, you might be surprised to learn that competition can be fierce. These organizations aren’t desperate; but they are selective. 

So just like applying to a job, you’ve got to be a great candidate for the position! 

In this lesson, I’m going to give you some pointers on how to position yourself as a fabulous volunteer candidate!

Start thinking what you can do now to make yourself competitive now

Volunteer tutoring at the local middle school would make you a competitive candidate for a teaching position or  volunteering at a women’s shelter would make you competitive for the Peace Corps – how can you plump up your resume right now? Call around to schools and organizations in your area and ask them if they need a helping hand. 

Know the Difference between a Resume vs. CV 

A resume is a one or two-page summary of your skills and experience that are related to the job you’re doing for; a CV is your extensive education and job history that can be up to 3-pages.  

Freshen up your Resume or CV

This always feels like a pain in the ass but it doesn’t have to! I’ve got a trick that will make your resume or CV be the most professional looking one in the stack…and that secret is Canva

If you haven’t used Canva before, welcome to the rest of your life. Canva is a simple, web-based design platform that requires no previous experience and is full of templates for every occasion, including the job hunt. 

Go to Canva, search Resume or CV and let their template guide you in filling out your details. 

When creating your resume or CV, you don’t want to stuff it full of words and phrases that carry little value. This isn’t a big-words-competition. Instead, you want to think about WHO is reading your resume and how you can make an impact on them.

If I’m applying to a fundraising and marketing position, I am going to want to show the employer that I’m a social butterfly and go-getter. If I’m applying for the Peace Corps, I want to show them that I can dedicate myself to long-term, intensive projects. This is YOUR resume, so you can tweak and highlight your history to fit the job. 

Here is a resume I threw together in 15 minutes (don’t over think it). I’m pretending that I’m applying for a social outreach program for a non-profit in Cambodia. The position required me to raise funds by creating online content, outreach strategy, and host a few physical fundraisers. So I’ve put together a “social butterfly” resume.

But here is a resume that I would throw together for an outreach program at a local community center in Bali, where it will be my job to support local mothers. 

You’ll see in both resumes…I’m a totally different person on paper, but they are both authentically me in real life. 

Know your audience and dress for the event! 

Some of my favorite words to use:

  • Curate
  • Produce
  • Production
  • Collaborate
  • Lead
  • Strategy
  • Establish

Hint: Remember the elevator pitch we wrote earlier? Could that have a place on your resume/CV?

Activity Idea: Share Your Resume.

Time for some constructive and friendly advice! In the thread below, upload the first page of your resume (or all of it if you wish!), along with a sample position you would be using it to apply for. Then, have a look at another person’s resume and give them some constructive advice for how they make it stronger for the role they are applying for.  

  • Apply with a timeline

Have a firm idea of your first availability to fly and don’t be afraid to clarify when they are ready to have you. Transparency is the key to getting things moving. Make a calendar. Plan it out. 

That means planning financially, as well!

Did you land a volunteer job abroad? Tag me on Instagram @sologirlstravelguide so I can see what amazing things you’re doing.

buy on Indie Bound
buy on Barnes and Noble
buy on amazon

Ticket Plan

this book has magic powers

Find and Fund Your Purpose while Traveling the World

listen on audible
got to application

Want to contribute to the blog? I love to feature the perspective of other solo female travelers.


Blog Contribution

meet your travel guide

I'm a bestselling author, hotel reviewer and pickleball player. I teach women how to travel the world solo without going broke or getting kidnapped.
In 2011, I left Seattle with just $200 in my pocket to travel the world solo. Today, I'm the founder and creator of The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide, the #1 travel guide book series for women - and the author of The One-Way Ticket Plan. 

author of The One-Way Ticket Plan and CEO of The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide

Meet Alexa

subscribe to my channel

YouTube Video

Check out my Latest