SLV.Global Links up With LinkedIn Volunteer Experience

Lucy Nightingale: January 2016.

Although we’ve been sending volunteers to Sri Lanka on various placements since 2010, I never really got involved with the whole LinkedIn thing and explored how we could be a part of it until very recently.

I set up a profile page about a year ago and at that time I had a little look round and wondered how SLV.Global could fit into this corporate-looking website and how we could engage with our former and future volunteers on this unfamiliar medium. We’ve always used Facebook to connect with team members and I have to admit, I’m a real traditionalist and subscribe to the theory that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. However, since LinkedIn announced that it was adding a new field to its profiles - "Volunteer Experience & Causes," I knew we'd finally found our link to LinkedIn.

I'm really excited about this development, as I know first-hand how valuable volunteer experience is to potential employers. We fill in about 30 references a day for previous members of the SLV.Global team and the SLVeterans page on our website is full of testimonials about how their SLV.Global experience helped them to reach their career goals.

It’s encouraging to see LinkedIn promoting volunteer opportunities, as it shows how much businesses and companies who are looking to hire, value unpaid work experience. LinkedIn go so far as to state that "1 in 5 managers hired someone based on their volunteering experiences." That’s 20% and that number can’t be ignored.

The writing’s on the wall- getting involved in charitable work will ultimately help you get paid work. According to a recent survey by LinkedIn, nearly 2,000 U.S. professionals were polled and 41% said that when they are evaluating candidates, they consider previous volunteer work just as much as paid work. You only need to look at that 1 in 5 figure to know that’s true.

I’m of the opinion that until quite recently, volunteering is not something that many people would include on their CVs. I myself knew the importance of volunteering to my career, but I didn’t necessarily share my unpaid experience with all my previous employers. I didn’t want them to think I’d simply done a ‘gap yah’ and potentially judge me for it. I knew what I’d done was more than that, but I lacked faith that high-level executives would understand.

I can certainly attest that we at SLV.Global have seen a huge influx of reference requests since 2014. Is that because more people are volunteering? I doubt it. I think it’s because more and more employers are encouraging voluntary experience and citing it as a desirable quality in their future workforce.

I feel incredibly positive about Linkedin’s recent update to their site. I believe it will not only encourage more people to get that much desired experience, but will hopefully make people take voluntary opportunities more seriously.

Volunteering is something to be proud of and now more than ever it’s something that can help you get ahead in the career of your choice. Due to this most recent development, I feel like SLV.Global definitely have a place on LinkedIn and I look forward to engaging with you and recommending you through the LinkedIn Volunteer Experience section.

Lucy NightingaleLucy