It’s the age old question : Does Volunteering count as work experience and how will volunteering benefit you? LinkedIn randomly selected and surveyed 1,942 people and found that a vast majority of them–89%–had volunteer experience. But their philanthropy went largely unreported. Only 45% of the respondents actually reported volunteer experiences on their career profiles. Survey responders said they didn’t think such experiences would count for much, and they didn’t think managers would be interested. The thought to add that experience to their profile hadn’t occurred to some of them.
But when the question was turned around, 41% of the same people polled said they considered volunteer experience as valuable as paid work experience. And 20% of the hiring managers polled in the survey admitted to making hiring decisions based on volunteer work.
Is Volunteer Work Valuable In a Resume?
Without a doubt, volunteer positions can be a valuable addition to your work history and to your resume.
Your volunteer experience will:
Show a prospective employer that your skills are fresh, not stale, and that you have been willing to get out there and use those skills.
Help explain how you have spent your unemployment time.
Demonstrate that you are a true team player willing to do what it takes to succeed and willing to use your time to benefit someone else.
Sometimes volunteers feel uncomfortable about including volunteer info because they feel it takes away from the main premise, which was to help others. As long as you aren’t presenting your role falsely or making more out of it than it was, you should be proud, as you would be with any other accomplishment (perhaps even more so!), that you participated in such an endeavour.
Managers today are impressed by someone with a social conscience, but it’s also another way they distinguish between people who have the same kind of education and traditional work experience. The fact that hiring managers are looking at volunteer experience as adding a little glitter to a resume is a good reason for recent grads to showcase their experience on their resumes and job profile, or talk about their time in Cape Town while volunteering with Dreams to Reality.
Volunteering gives you the opportunity to develop important skills in diverse and creative environments. After volunteering at Dreams to Reality, you will have experience in teamwork, communication, discipline, project-planning, task-implementation and organisation and these are all skills that future employers will consider an asset.