LinkedIn to Users: Volunteer Your Volunteer Experience

LinkedIn announced the addition of a “Volunteer Experience & Causes” field to its profiles, allowing users of the professional networking site to share volunteer positions they have held, causes dear to them, and organizations they back.

Organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters, DonorsChoose.org, Habitat for Humanity International, The Humane Society of the United States, Oxfam International, the American Red Cross, and Teach for America are listed, and users can input any others that were not already included.

LinkedIn said it surveyed almost 2,000 professionals and found that while 89 percent of respondents have volunteered, only 45 percent include that experience on their resumes. On the flip side, 41 percent said they hold volunteer work in the same regard as paid work when reviewing the qualifications of job candidates, and 20 percent said volunteer experience has influenced their hiring decisions.

LinkedIn connection director Nicole Williams said:

Professionals often have the misconception that volunteer work doesn’t qualify as “real” work experience. You may be a salesperson by trade, but if you organized your nonprofit’s fundraising event, you can add skills, like event planning or event marketing, to your profile. Having those additional skills can potentially make you a more attractive employee and business partner.

Given the current economic climate and the hypercompetitive 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 the competition.

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