In a new study recently conducted by LinkedIn, 41% of professionals surveyed stated they consider volunteer work equally as valuable as paid work experience. This comes as great news to the 14 Million plus full-time job seekers. “Given the current economic climate and the hypercompetitive job market, it’s essential to include your volunteer work on your (LinkedIn) profile,” said Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s Connection Direct and author of “Girl on Top.”
LinkedIn makes it easy
Thanks to a new field titled “Volunteer Experience & Causes” on your LinkedIn’s profile, it’s now easier than ever for employers and recruiters alike to see that you are active in the community. This section allows you to include your specific role (e.g. committee chairperson, board member) and the organization type (e.g. humanitarian, domestic, animal causes). With this added to your profile, hiring managers can compare you side by side and possibly decide to hire someone who aligns closer with their company culture or environment.
Career relevant volunteering
When choosing a volunteer opportunity, it’s a smart idea to find volunteer opportunities that highlight your professional skill set. As an example, if you are a marketing professional and enjoy working with animals, you can source opportunities to work on marketing events or on a marketing community at a local zoo. This highlights your professional skill set, and keeps it fresh, while putting your volunteerism up front at the same time.
Finding volunteer opportunities
Where do you find these great opportunities? One great site to check out is www.volunteermatch.org which will hook you up with thousands of organizations in need of volunteers by organization type and zip code. Another site you can peruse for options is www.serve.gov, the official site of United We Serve, the nationwide service to meet the growing needs from the economic downturn. I also recommend calling local non-profits in your own neighborhood and asking if they need someone with your skill set to volunteer during the hours you have available. As a former board member on 10+ organizations from global education organizations to the Marketing Committee for the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, there’s not a time I remember that we would have turned a volunteer away.