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1/16/2014
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LinkedIn Adds Volunteer Listings

Users can search for unpaid opportunities in LinkedIn's new Volunteer Marketplace.

10 Top LinkedIn Tips, Tricks
10 Top LinkedIn Tips, Tricks
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Most people turn to LinkedIn when they're searching for a new job or need to fill an open position. LinkedIn on Wednesday announced a new focus: the launch of its Volunteer Marketplace, where people can post and search for unpaid opportunities.

According to a LinkedIn survey, 42% of hiring managers said they consider volunteer work equivalent to full-time work experience while 20% said they would hire someone because of her volunteer experience. LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman said user interest in volunteer work was one reason the social network launched the marketplace.

"While busy professionals who love their current gigs may not necessarily be looking for a new position, these are often the very people who are most actively engaged in 'meaningful searches' -- a volunteer opportunity that will enhance their life in ways beyond what their primary vocation provides," Hoffman said in a blog post. "By providing opportunities for all these different kinds of LinkedIn members, we aim to help the social sector by doing what we do best as a company: connecting talent with opportunity at massive scale."

[Are you guilty of these? Read 5 LinkedIn Habits To Break In 2014.]

Organizations can post a volunteer opening the same way they would post a job, but the cost is significantly lower. Posting volunteer opportunities typically runs $20 to $40, about 10% of what job postings cost. LinkedIn plans to reinvest revenues back into the program.

LinkedIn said it is working with volunteer-matching organizations Catchafire, VolunteerMatch, and BoardSource to make sure opportunities listed on its site are high quality.

Right now, users can access the Volunteer Marketplace only through volunteer.linkedin.com; there are no direct links to the marketplace from LinkedIn's homepage. Volunteer listings also will appear in both job emails that LinkedIn sends and in the "Jobs You May Be Interested In" section in the right-hand column of LinkedIn. Users can search specifically for volunteer opportunities by typing "volunteer" into the job title search bar.

LinkedIn has let users include volunteer work in their profiles since 2011, when it launched the section "Volunteer Experience & Causes." According to the social network, in the last six months, more than 600,000 users have indicated that they'd like to join a nonprofit board or offer pro bono consulting.

Senior editor Kristin Burnham covers social media, social business, and IT leadership and careers for InformationWeek.com. Contact her at Kristin.Burnham@ubm.com or follow her on Twitter: @kmburnham.

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Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
1/16/2014 | 9:24:58 AM
Volunteer work
Readers: Has volunteer work ever factored into whether you hire a candidate? In your opinion, is volunteer experience comparable to "real-world" work experience?
Stephane Parent
IW Pick
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Stephane Parent,
User Rank: Strategist
1/16/2014 | 2:54:04 PM
Re: Volunteer work
Volunteer leadership experience is worth a lot more than work leadership experience. The dynamics of getting unpaid people to be sufficiently motivated to achieve your vision or goals are quite different. You cannot offer them bonuses - not money, anyway - to follow you.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
1/16/2014 | 4:19:39 PM
Re: Volunteer work
That is an excellent point, srparent. Some people would not be able to motivate volunteers. Thank you for bringing it up.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
1/16/2014 | 4:53:54 PM
Re: Volunteer work
>The dynamics of getting unpaid people to be sufficiently motivated to achieve your vision or goals are quite different.

Social networks have done quite well getting people to volunteer valuable personal data without fair compensation.
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
1/17/2014 | 12:43:12 PM
Re: Volunteer work
Sharing information online is much easier for volunteers than sharing their time, especially if the job is less-than-glamorous. People who have an internal need to serve others are easier to motivate.
Social is a Business Imperative
Social is a Business Imperative
The use of social media for a host of business purposes is rising. Indeed, social is quickly moving from cutting edge to business basic. Organizations that have so far ignored social - either because they thought it was a passing fad or just didnít have the resources to properly evaluate potential use cases and products - must start giving it serious consideration.
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