This question comes up almost every time that I do a presentation on portfolio careers. I am talking again this week to the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England & Wales (ICAEW). Accountants are loving the prospect of this alternative career pattern for them. As usual I emphasise that it is not a work style for everyone. (Have a look at the questionnaire on this site to check yourself out.) But someone almost always talks about how they can get into this way of life and how they can finance it or what do they say to potential employers/clients if they are not in paid work. We always recommend that you should take on voluntary work. It stops you from going mad, enables you to use some of your motivated skills if you choose wisely, and can also introduce you to new networks and therefore new opportunities.
Last year LinkedIn made it possible for their 150 million users to add their “Volunteer Experience & Causes” to their LinkedIn profile. More than 40% of the professionals that LinkedIn surveyed stated that when they are evaluating candidates, they consider volunteer work equally as valuable as paid work experience. One-fifth of hiring managers surveyed agree they have made a hiring decision based on a candidate’s volunteer work experience.
In other words for career progression, for getting hired, for adding clients to your portfolio – volunteering is a no brainer!