If you're looking for ways to boost your resume or find a job, consider volunteering.
A recent report from LinkedIn found that nearly half of hiring managers interviewed consider volunteer work equivalent to full-time work experience. One in five respondents said they have hired someone because of their charitable work. Perhaps that's why the professional networking site last week launched a Volunteer Marketplace, designed to match volunteers with the nonprofits who need them.
"It's clear that the skill and experience gained through volunteering are respected and that they provide an edge for job candidates during the hiring process," said Evan Hochberg, the national director of community engagement for consulting giant Deloitte, which joined LinkedIn on a conference call last week to discuss its new initiative.
Why are hiring managers and major corporations taking volunteering so seriously? Because they've realized the professional and personal benefits potential employees can experience through giving back. From learning new skills and honing existing ones to meeting new people and boosting creativity, volunteering could benefit your career more than you think -- and best of all, you'll be doing good and helping others in the process.
- Develop new skills: In its 2013 Volunteer Impact Survey, Deloitte found that 76 percent of human resource executives said the skills and experience acquired while volunteering make a job candidate more desirable. Learn a new skill or enhance the skills you already have -- volunteering can deliver both, and hiring managers will take notice when they see them on your resume.
- Fill in resume gaps: If you're not working, volunteering with a nonprofit is a great way to fill a blank spot in a resume, helping to answer the recruiter's inevitable question of what you've been doing with your time, besides looking for a job.
- Build your network: Meeting new people isn't always easy, but volunteering makes it easier. Whether you're serving at a soup kitchen or building a website for a mentoring organization, you'll be interacting closely with an entirely new group of like-minded people. One of these contacts may be the very person who passes your resume to the right human resources exec at the right time.
- Enhance creativity: Humans have long known that doing the same thing for long periods of time (working at your current job, for example) can stagnate creativity, and that diversifying experiences can boost your brainpower. Volunteering will get you out of your comfort zone and can help give you the spark you need to kickstart your current career, or find a new one.