Survey Says, “Your Volunteer Experience Matters”
LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network released the results this morning* of a survey of nearly two thousand professionals in the U.S. and found that 89% have volunteering experience, but only 45% include this on their resumes. This is a mistake according to Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s Connection Director. “Professionals often have the misconception that volunteer work doesn’t qualify as ‘real’ work experience“. But, 41% of the surveyed professionals stated that when they are evaluating candidates, they consider volunteer work equally as valuable as paid work experience. In fact, 20% of the hiring managers surveyed agree they have made a hiring decision based on a candidate’s volunteer work experience. According to Williams**,
“Given the current economic climate and the hyper competitive job market, it’s essential to include your volunteer work on your profile. Even if you’re currently unemployed, you can still actively volunteer and begin to accrue new skill sets. When hiring managers or business partners are comparing two people side by side, volunteer experience makes you a more multifaceted professional and can set you apart from competition.”
Volunteering is Good for Your Career
Again, according to Williams, there are at least four ways that volunteering can be good for your career.
Helping others counts – All that time you spent raising record amounts of money, the year-end event you planned to perfection all felt like real work and…it was. New research from LinkedIn shows that one out of every five hiring managers in the U.S. agree they have hired a candidate because of their volunteer work experience. Your volunteer experience counts and if you don’t include it in your profile, on your resume and as a discussion point during an interview or when you’re negotiating for a promotion you’re not getting the credit you deserve.
You Never Know Who You’re Going to Meet – The majority of career enhancing opportunities come through relationships and volunteering exposes you to people you wouldn’t encounter otherwise. And get this: volunteer relationships are particularly beneficial in that folks you interact with while volunteering are usually driven, conscientious professionals who can be a referral. Volunteering offers a whole new world of qualified and valuable connections.
Test-Drive Your Passion – A truism of career success is that passion correlates with talent and talent translates to reward (both financial and emotional). One of the safest ways of test-driving your passion as a career is to volunteer your talents. Not only do you get to try your hand at a repertoire of new skills and experiences in a low-risk forum, but you’ll also be showcasing these talents to a whole host of peers who may just happen to have the connections you need to get hired.
Get Noticed / Motivated – The most successful people in the world dedicate their efforts to a cause that extends beyond themselves and your boss and / or hiring manager are well aware of this. In this hypercompetitive world of work where we all need to differentiate ourselves, volunteering not only provides you the opportunity to showcase your talents and experiences, but it also allows you to demonstrate compassion and commitment.
Now You Can Make it Part of Your Profile
LinkedIn also announced today that members can add a ‘Volunteer Experience & Causes’ field to their profile. To add the “Volunteer Experience & Causes” field to your LinkedIn Profile:
- After logging in, click “Profile” at the top of LinkedIn.
- Click the “Add Sections” hyperlink.
- Select “Volunteer Experience & Causes.”
- Click the “Add to Profile” button and then fill out the applicable fields.
Here’s what the new section looks like on my profile: Aaron Ausland