September 7, 2011
By Meg Handley
Think organizing your church’s annual potluck or volunteering at the local homeless shelter means squat when it comes to your resume and job search?
Think again. Charity and volunteer work could be key to landing your next job, particularly if you learn transferable skills, according to a new LinkedIn survey.
It might sound like a no-brainer, but less than half of people surveyed by LinkedIn included volunteer gigs on their resume, even though the vast majority had volunteering experience.
“Professionals often have the misconception that volunteer work doesn’t qualify as ‘real’ work experience,” Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s connection director, said in a press release.
But just because a job doesn’t pay doesn’t mean you don’t benefit. Individuals glean plenty of tangible skills and experience from charity work, Williams says. For example, even if you’re a salesperson by trade, organizing a nonprofit fundraising event requires event planning, time management and marketing, skills professionals should highlight on their resume regardless of their field.
While professionals often overlook or underestimate the value of volunteer work, the exposure to varied skill sets that charity work provides can make you a more versatile, attractive employee, not to mention a more competitive job seeker.
In fact, 41 percent of hiring authorities surveyed by LinkedIn rated volunteer experience equally as important as paid experience. “Given the current economic climate and the hypercompetitive job market, it’s essential to include your volunteer work on your profile,” Williams says. “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.”