How to Effectively Add Volunteerism to Your LinkedIn Profile

Posted by on May 27, 2015

Whether it’s tutoring a friends or classmates in school, or spending your spare time helping out with a local organization, we’ve all volunteered at some point in time. Volunteering regularly in an area related to your academic program or with a professional organization can show you are involved in your career field and your community. Many employers see volunteerism as a positive addition to a resume, which can be important if you are looking for a job.

How LinkedIn and volunteering helped Jessica Ayub, career services coordinator at Globe University/Minnesota School of Business-Blaine

Jessica Ayub, career services coordinator at GU/MSB-Blaine, explains the importance of adding connections and asking for recommendations on LinkedIn, with respect to professional networking.

“I believe the best career development social media outlet to outline and present your contributions as a volunteer is LinkedIn, which is a social media platform oriented toward building professional connections and aimed at keeping up with relevant news in your field,” said Ayub. “Surprisingly, you might not think it at first, but giving back as a volunteer in your personal and/or professional communities can be an amazing networking opportunity and also contribute to your career.”

Ayub adds, “In my spare time, like many of you, I’ve spent years volunteering, which has provided me three ways to benefit others and earn recognition in my career field:  (1) funding for a professional certification with a $2,000 scholarship and later serving as a two-time scholarship selection judge for the organization; (2)  being elected to the board of trustees for a three-year term with the Minnesota Career Development Association; and (3) another volunteer role as a quarterly magazine editor with the National Career Development Association. I’ve met tons of people! In fact, since I started using LinkedIn in 2008, I’ve been growing my network to 830+ connections including those in my field, past and present co-workers, family, and friends.”

Adding Volunteerism to LinkedIn

Adding volunteer work to your profile can help increase your chances of getting noticed or even hired by an employers. Look for opportunities to serve others using the skill set needed within your industry or volunteering for organizations within your field.

You will want to carefully consider where you choose to post your activities on LinkedIn.  Some profile areas allow you to have written recommendations that are similar to references, while others do not.

Why do you want a ‘recommendation,’ anyway?  Well, we no longer add ‘References Available upon Request’ to our resumes for a reason.  Checking references is expected, so we don’t even mention it.  So, use LinkedIn to provide additional proof and verification that you are amazing at what you do!  After all, you probably gained new skills and utilized transferable skills with your team in the volunteer setting.

Let’s take a look at how this works.

  • Under the ‘organizations’ and ‘volunteer’ sections, you can’t have people be a reference for you in this area. They are unable to add a ‘recommendation.’ However, these two areas are top opportunities to show you are active with an organization, even if it is occasionally.
  • Did you know there are a couple key reasons why you want to use the section called ‘experience,’ where your employment usually goes, to add significantly relevant and long-term volunteerism?
    • You can add the volunteer position like a job and it shows up under ‘current’ at the very top of your profile, along with your employment. Be recognized as involved in your field with that first impression when people are viewing your profile.
    • You can have supervisors and leaders, or other volunteers, give you a written ‘recommendation’ under this position and their picture, name, and headline shows up from their profile. Those viewing your profile can also visit theirs, too. This is helpful for visitors evaluating your background, since your reference is likely a leader with the organization where you volunteer.

Check out this link, for more information about asking connections for recommendations on LinkedIn. We volunteer to help others, yet, it can play an important part in how our career path progresses. The career services team at GU/MSB-Blaine welcomes your visit to chat about this and other career advice.


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