Laurier tops LinkedIn list


Graphic by Joshua Awolade
Graphic by Joshua Awolade

Wilfrid Laurier University has been ranked first on LinkedIn’s list for the top five schools in the world for the highest proportion of students and graduates with volunteer experience.

Laurier topped the list, with the University of Exeter, University of Victoria, Dalhousie University and Simon Fraser University rounding out the top five.

Kathleen Kahlon, communications lead for LinkedIn, said more members of LinkedIn are now filling out their volunteer section as part of their work experiences.

“A few years ago there were only three million members who had that [volunteer] section filled out on their profile and now there are 10 million members, so it’s grown quite a bit over the last few years,” she said.

To make the list, LinkedIn looked at which of their members had volunteer sections and analyzed the data to find out where these members attend or attended school.

“We’ve also found based on data that 71 per cent of the members who had volunteer experience were millennial so that’s an interesting statistic,” Kahlon added.

Millennial, or Generation Y, is the cohort of individuals born from the early 1980s to early 2000s.

According to Kahlon, LinkedIn found that more employers are looking for volunteer experience rather than just work experience. She said LinkedIn added their volunteer section because they saw that more graduates entering the workforce understood how important it is for employers.

“What we know is that as people are entering into the workforce … they understand the volunteer experience is really important and that’s why we added that section.”

LinkedIn members with years of volunteer experience should put this information in their main profile, according to Kahlon. In other cases, if someone has a full-time job and is volunteering outside work hours, it would be better to mention their experience in the volunteer section.

Katelyn Murray, administration and development director of Laurier Students’ Public Interest Research Group, also believes volunteer experience can help students acquire jobs after university.

“[LSPIRG] tries to provide opportunities for volunteers to not only just give their time, but to develop skills that they can then use to help build their resume as well, which I think is the key factor in helping and transferring volunteer experience into a valuable point of your resume,” said Murray.

Emily Maulucci, a third-year psychology student at Laurier and a member of LinkedIn, volunteers around the Waterloo campus in order to gain more skills and experiences.

“I have been lately trying to find more volunteer work that can link to my program — psychology — so I do have more experience in different parts of the field. So that is able to help me find out what I would like to do for a job and have many different kinds of experiences on my resume to have a better chance at a job,” Maulucci said.

Murray said she wasn’t surprised to find out Laurier had the highest number of volunteers.

“The Laurier community is a get-involved community and that’s really impressive. So I think that’s what sort of made this study really unsurprising to me — because the culture is so much about getting involved and volunteering.”

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