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How to Find Your Dream Nonprofit Job

Nonprofit Careers Appeal to More People Than Ever


Nonprofit jobs are gaining in popularity. The nonprofit world is attracting more people, including new grads, career changers, and newly retired baby boomers who are considering capstone careers serving causes they believe in.

If you are among those considering a nonprofit job, here are a few tips to help you in your job search.


1. Determine the causes you are most passionate about.

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You will be a much more desirable nonprofit job candidate if you speak passionately about your desire to work on a particular nonprofit cause. You are also likely to know more about an area if you have been following it for some time. So what do you care about most? Healthcare? The environment? Immigration? Poverty? International issues?

Research the causes you are interested in (use these charitable giving sites to find many nonprofits across all sectors), donate to them, sign up for their newsletters, follow them on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. The more you know about the trends in the causes you love, the more attractive you will be to those nonprofits.

2. Check out the nonprofits right in your local area.

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Start your nonprofit job search with your own city or town, and then work out from there. There are likely to be several grass roots organizations locally even if you live in a small or medium-sized city. In larger cities, you will find many local chapters of national nonprofits. If you are in a position to move, take your job search nationwide. Check out online nonprofit job listings and subscribe to key publications. Most organizations now list their nonprofit job openings right on their websites, so bookmark your favorite ones and check in regularly.

3. Take advantage of informational interviews.

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Most people who work in nonprofits are quite willing to grant an informational interview to people who are investigating nonprofit as a career option. Use your current contacts to locate appropriate individuals.

In an informational interview there is no pressure. You are seeking information...you are really doing the interviewing. However, it is not unusual for these interviews to actually lead to job offers. It is a great way to make some good contacts and learn about possible openings. Prepare several questions before the interview and be sure to send a thank you note quickly.

4. Volunteer for your favorite nonprofit.

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Volunteering is an excellent way to try out an organization. You can tell a lot by volunteering, such as how organized the group is, how seriously it takes training, and what the level of resources is. The contacts you make will be valuable later in your job search. You may even have the inside track for openings. Many volunteers have become paid staff.

5. Find a nonprofit internship or co-op.

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If you are still in school, create your own internship by contacting nonprofits and offering your services. Your college or university may be able to place you in a nonprofit through its own channels. Many nonprofits advertise their internship opportunities on their websites and in special interest publications, and you may be able to find them listed on the many nonprofit job search sites. This is a great way to get the inside track to a nonprofit job.

6. Use social media.

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Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are examples of the social media you can use to search for nonprofit jobs. It is the same as looking for any job using these methods, except that you will search for nonprofit organizations and people connected with nonprofits. Most nonprofits now have a presence on the major social networking sites, and people who work at nonprofits are active users of them. Follow some of the nonprofit job sites such as Opportunity Knocks and Idealist through Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

7. Cast your net broadly.

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There are nonprofit jobs in just about any field you can think of. Consider a teaching career, a career in healthcare, government or a museum job. More nonprofit causes are identified each year, and organizations to serve them are created at a rapid rate.

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