Volunteering seen boosting job prospects

Skills-based volunteering can boost job prospects for graduating college seniors and returning military veterans, yet less than half of them see volunteering at a nonprofit as a way to build skills and the experience they need to get a job, a new survey says.

Among 202 human resources executives who were interviewed online in February, 81 percent said experience gained through skilled volunteering would be taken into account when evaluating a job candidate, according to the 2013 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey.

Seventy-six percent said skilled volunteer experience makes a job candidate more desirable, 81 percent said it makes a college graduate more desirable, and 78 percent said it makes a member of the armed services more desirable.

Yet, despite the tough economy, 46 percent of students surveyed and 48 percent of military personnel surveyed see volunteering at a nonprofit as a way to develop skills and gain the experience needed to land a job.

“It is clear that the skills and experience gained through volunteering offer a competitive edge,” Evan Hochberg, national director for community engagement at Deloitte Services LP, says in a statement.

“However, when more than half of college grads and returning veterans don’t consider volunteering to improve their employability,” he says, “there is work to be done to help them see the upside of volunteer bridging as a viable search option.”

The survey also confirmed that volunteerism — both traditional and skilled — is encouraged at many organizations through corporate citizenship programs.

Sixty-five percent of human resources executives surveyed see volunteering as beneficial to their employees, 88 percent see volunteering as contributing to a positive reputation, and 52 percent say volunteerism is an important part of their organization’s culture.

The survey also included interviews with 202 college seniors and 101 military personnel scheduled to be discharged within the next 12 months

Todd Cohen