LinkedIn Report: Claim Your Volunteer Hours on Your Profile

Post date: Oct 10, 2011 12:48:32 AM

One of the things that I learned in my household was to always donate my skills and time. Serving is beneficial to your community, but you get a lot out of volunteering, as well. I’ve talked about career development on the cheap, and if you volunteer, you can gain a lot of skills depending on the work. A local organization may need a fundraising chair, and you essentially turn into a marketing and project manager. If you think you might be interested in healthcare, there are plenty of hospitals and hospice facilities that could use your time.

As more companies embrace socially responsible initiatives, knowing that top talent are looking to get additional fulfillment from their careers, it turns out we aren’t really claiming those volunteer hours on our resume.

LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), the world’s largest professional network with more than 120 million members worldwide, today announced that members can now add a “Volunteer Experience & Causes” field to theirLinkedIn Profile. The company also released data that reinforces volunteer work is a key piece of your professional identity.

LinkedIn surveyed nearly two thousand professionals in the U.S. and found that 89 percent of these professionals have personally had experience volunteering, but only 45 percent of professionals include their volunteer experience on their resume. “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 sales person 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 amore attractive employee and business partner.”

In a world where there are many people fighting for a job, and differentiating yourself becomes more difficult, noting that volunteer time says something about you as a candidate. Not only can you add these additional skills to your resume, but you demonstrate you go above and beyond the call of duty. You demonstrate commitment. “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,” said Williams. “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.”

Also know that volunteering, or running the volunteer program for an organization, also can get you into a job you love. Many people want to give back professionally, but it always seems that it is so difficult to find that right kind of job. Social entrepreneurs are creating companies that are “for-benefit,” and they need volunteer coordinators, event planners, fundraisers, and so on. Those social entrepreneurs will be looking for people who already demonstrate social consciousness through volunteer work. So why not put it on your LinkedIn Profile?

In the new “Volunteer Experience & Causes” field, LinkedIn members can add volunteer positions, causes they care about, and organizations they support. LinkedIn members can now list Big Brothers Big Sisters,, Habitat for HumanityInternational, The Humane Society of the United States, Oxfam International, the American Red Cross, Teach for America, or any other organization they support on theirLinkedIn Profile.

If you’re like me, already juggling a lot of balls, you might as well tell people about it. You may not always have room on your resume (there’s still that one-page preference last time I checked), but you might as well claim those hours on LinkedIn. Include your LinkedIn Profile hyperlink the next time you update your resume, and include your passions and things you have accomplished through volunteering on your Profile. This is yet another excellent way recruiters, colleagues, and even other foundations can get a better portrait of you. Just point them in the right direction.

To add the “Volunteer Experience & Causes” field to your LinkedIn Profile:

View a screenshot of the new “Volunteer Experience & Causes” field and get moredetails on the impact volunteering can have on your career on the LinkedIn Blog:

By Emily Jasper: