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."
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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.
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