Oh to be a millennial, they’re never spooked by new technology, they’re savvy consumers, and they’re do-gooders! Not surprising, of the one million LinkedIn members who have added the Volunteer & Causes section to their profile, the majority were Millennials. Why is this important? It’s important because including your social impact as part of your professional identity isn’t just a nice to have, it’s becoming the norm.
True story: Two equally qualified candidates were being considered by a CMO for a high level marketing position at a Fortune 100 company. Still undecided, she went to their respective LinkedIn profiles. Scrolling down to the “Volunteer & Causes” section she came across one of the candidate’s work with the ASPCA along with this Gandhi quote: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” An animal lover and avid volunteer, the decision was suddenly crystal clear.
Millennials care enough to make a difference.
In a market flooded with both talent looking for opportunities and opportunities looking for talent, social impact has become the critical point of differentiation for both employees and employers. As Millennials lead the way in highlighting their volunteer efforts as a point of professional identity, the rest of the population will have to follow suit in order to be competitive.
Employers are getting competitive with causes.
Do you want to work for a company whose employees are as passionate as you are? KPMG, Abercrombie and Fitch, salesforce.com, Victoria’s Secret and Rogers Communication lead the way when it comes to employees who’ve shared their volunteer experience and causes they care about on their LinkedIn profile. Either these companies happen to have a lot of Millennials working for them, and/or they lean towards hiring people who take social impact seriously. Either way, I commend these companies for breeding a workforce that cares. Think your company is underrepresented? Reach out to your colleagues and encourage them to add the Volunteer & Causes section to their LinkedIn profile where you can share not only the causes you care about, but also list nonprofits that you’re involved in, in much the same way you’d add work experience to your profile.
Volunteers are developing valuable skills.
Donating your time not only helps charities and causes, it can help you hone your skills. Charitable organizations have been hit with severe funding shortages over the years and can’t afford to staff many high skill roles with paid employees. This means that today’s volunteer opportunities provide legitimate skill-set development such as fundraising, event planning, or social marketing. This trend of newly graduated Millennials and/or career-changers who are attaining talent enhancing experiences via their volunteer work is becoming recognized by hiring managers. Research from LinkedIn shows that one out of every five hiring managers in the U.S. agree they have hired a candidate because of their volunteer work experience.
Nonprofits are working the system, too.
And it all comes full-circle. With talent becoming increasingly discerning about connecting their passion and values to actual career developing skills, nonprofits themselves are having to brand themselves as valuable places for people to volunteer. By encouraging supporters and volunteers to add this section to their LinkedIn profiles, nonprofits are strengthening their brand, influence and community on LinkedIn. The top five nonprofits listed by members on their LinkedIn profiles are Habitat for Humanity International, Boy Scouts of America, American Red Cross, American Cancer Society and Big Brothers Big Sisters.