sports-volunteering Image: University of Exeter

Thousands of job applicants who have done voluntary work are limiting their prospects by failing to mention it on their CV, according to data collated by job site Indeed.

Less than 8% of the seven million UK jobseekers’ CVs posted on the site refer to volunteering, despite more than half (54%) of people in Britain have done some kind of voluntary work.

But candidates’ reluctance about mentioning their voluntary work is at odds with what many employers look for in recruits that two thirds (64%) of business leaders value volunteering experience in a prospective employee.

Also, two out of five (41%) recruiters ask candidates about voluntary work, said the report published by Indeed and the volunteer programme Team London.

Bill Richards, UK managing director, Indeed, said: “Employers place great value on the skills that volunteering develops – such as teamwork, confidence and self-motivation – and jobseekers who highlight any voluntary work they have done will give themselves an edge over other candidates.”

More than half (53%) of recruiters said they would use volunteering experience as a deciding factor when choosing between two candidates. Yet a third (33%) of jobseekers said it had never crossed their mind that voluntary work could help with their job search.

The mismatch between employers’ and jobseekers’ attitudes is most acute in the manufacturing and construction sectors, where three quarters (77%) of recruiters saw experience of volunteering as an important asset for candidates.

Mr. Richards added: “As the competition for top talent grows, employers are increasingly moving away from recruiting for specific jobs, instead seeking individuals with the relevant passion and enthusiasm that align with their company culture.

“Volunteering clearly offers big benefits to both the community and the volunteer. But for the jobseeker, it can bring strong career benefits too – by greatly increasing their chances of getting the role they want.”