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How much value do potential employers put on voluntary/non-paid work done by an individual while they are unemployed?

Answers

Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

Just one person's opinion - Voluntary unpaid work shows self-motivation and initiative. If you are a finance professional working on a start-up, that looks good. If you are a finance professional that is contributing your expertise to a community organization that looks great. But what does not look good is a resume where a chunk of time is missing, due to unemployment. Keep your time filled.

Topic Expert
Christie Jahn
Title: CFO
Company: Prime Investments & Development
(CFO, Prime Investments & Development) |

I agree with Regis; to take it one step further if it was volunteering for a good organization or cause (e.g. missionary work, or helped the local chapter of Red Cross) could be of value to the potential employer. It shows you care about your community and others, and you were ambitious enough to do this type of work while unemployed and looking for a new job.

Mark Woollgar
Title: Partner
Company: Adams Woollgar Financial Services LLC
(Partner, Adams Woollgar Financial Services LLC) |

I do not think the organization nor whether you were paid or not matters as much as what you did. I and other employers are looking to match skillsets to their needs. Your resume should show what you did and the successes you had just like any other job. If you are looking for a Project Manager role, talk to the massive event you PM'd for. If you are looking for an accounting role, talk to how you took on and fixed up an accounting mess.

The work done in a Professional Organization in your field helps. If you were on a standard setting committee that really counts towards your professional skill. I would always argue that you focusing on volunteering in areas that match your professional skill will build the network towards getting that next job. Those people you meet are more likely to help you get a position than anything else.

Mark Matheny
Title: VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis
Company: Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)
(VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis, Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)) |

I agree as well. It shows motivation. However, need to be careful that there is real participation. Not just showing up and signing in. Potential employer may check.

Topic Expert
Mark Richards
Title: VP of Finance & Operations
Company: RBA Consulting
(VP of Finance & Operations, RBA Consulting) |

I think the most important thing that volunteering does for you is improve your confidence since most folks you work alongside greatly appreciate the help. While not on your resume, the confidence does not go unnoticed during an interview.

I agree with the other comments that relevant experience in a non-profit makes an impact. I help oversee the investments of a non-profit - which was an important point for consideration for a potential role. More often than not, the volunteer work is difficult to match to corporate skills unless you spend a fair amount of time on specific items.

I say keep volunteering - if helps keep you psyche strong - then it's a total winner during job search.

Best regards,

Mark

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