Business social networking site LinkedIn is now allowing its members to including volunteering experience and the causes they support to their profiles.
In the new "Volunteer Experience & Causes" field, LinkedIn members can add volunteer positions, causes they care about, and organisations they support, for example, Oxfam International or Habitat for Humanity International.
"Professionals often have the misconception that volunteer work doesn’t qualify as ‘real’ work experience," said Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s Connection director and best-selling author of the book, Girl on Top.
"You may be a salesperson by trade, but if you organised your non-profit’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."
How 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.
In fact, 41pc of professionals LinkedIn surveyed stated that when they are evaluating candidates, they consider volunteer work equally as valuable as paid work experience. Twenty per cent of the hiring managers surveyed agree they have made a hiring decision based on a candidate’s volunteer work experience.
"Given the current economic climate and the hypercompetitive job market, it’s essential to include your volunteer work on your profile, " says Williams.
"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."