LinkedIn's move last week to allow the addition of volunteer experience and causes seems on the surface to be a great addition in communicating your personal brand to your professional network.
Three benefits to you of being able to see other peoples volunteer experience;
- You can see who in your industry, voacation or network has similar interests to you. Particularly if you are looking to connect with that person, it is another area of commonality in which to make that first approach.
- You can search by areas of interest or volunteer experience that are the same or similar to yours to see what others are doing career wise. It might offer new areas and avenues to explore for your own career.
- If you are targeting a particular company or person, volunteering at the same organization as they support will give you potential exposure to them and chance to show your skills in a different, less intimidating setting. No stalking though!
A LinkedIn survey conducted as part of this launch found that 20% of hiring managers said that they hired a candidate based on their volunteer experience. So it is certainly an area of your profile that you want to consider adding to.
A few things to consider;
- Highlight the experience where you had roles of responsibility and influence and you can talk to certain successes that you had.
- If your causes or volunteer experience are particularly relevant to an industry or company you are interested in be sure to include them.
- Do not under estimate the importance of the annual cancer run you participate in or local food drive - community giving is highly prized by companies and viewed very positively.
Also if the organizations you are listing are not showing up as having a page on LinkedIn, do them a favour and let them know they have an opportunity for further, no charge, exposure to a very key group of people.