LinkedIn has announced that members can now add a “Volunteer Experience & Causes” field to their LinkedIn Profile. The company also released data that reinforces volunteer work is a key piece of your professional identity.

In the new “Volunteer Experience & Causes” field, LinkedIn members can add volunteer positions, causes they care about, and organisations they support. LinkedIn members can now list Oxfam International, Habitat for Humanity International, and any other organisation they support on their LinkedIn Profile.

LinkedIn surveyed over 1,000 professionals in the UK and found that 63 percent have personally had experience volunteering, but only 55 percent include their volunteer experience on their CV. In fact, 55 percent of the professionals surveyed stated that when evaluating candidates they consider volunteer work equally as valuable as paid work experience. One in five hiring managers have also made a hiring decision based on a candidate’s volunteer work experience.

“Professionals often have the misconception that volunteer work doesn’t qualify as ‘real’ work experience,” explains Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s Connection Director. “You may be a sales person by trade, but if you organised your nonprofit’s fundraising event, you can add skills, like event planning or event marketing, to your profile. Having those additional skills can potentially make you a more attractive employee and business partner.”

“Volunteering as a team leader and secretary for Nightline greatly improved my career prospects and CV credentials, providing me with the skills which every modern graduate needs in today’s competitive job market, which a university education alone cannot provide,” explains Nightline volunteer, Kristina Bassett. “My position at Nightline meant I gained experience creating publicity and organising fundraising events which had a very real effect on the success or failure of the service. It provided me with the opportunity to learn to cope in a highly stressful environment, where good team work and support were essential.”