If you are passionate about a cause, at some point you have probably Googled “How to get a job at a non-profit.” Although many people dream about working in the non-profit sector, the road to a career in this field is a little different than other industries.
There are some steps you can take along the way to help pave the road to a career working for a non-profit organization.
Reflect On Your “Why”
When considering how to get a job at a non-profit, it is crucial that you reflect and think about the reasons behind your motivation. So many people want to work with a non-profit organization because they want to feel good. They want to feel like a hero that swoops in to save the day.
However, these same people usually find that working for a non-profit is much different than they initially thought. Organizational change is often slow, funding for programming is sometimes limited and non-profits often have lower-paying positions, despite taking on many roles.
Internal motivation to move the organization forward is the secret to longevity in this type of career. Before you think about how to get a job at a non-profit, ensure that your motive is in line with the job.
Decide On The Position You Want
Luckily for those looking at a non-profit career path, there are many skill sets needed to help the organization run smoothly. When searching for how to get a job at a non-profit, it is important to decide which position you would like.
If you have management experience, you could look at executive director positions. If you have a background in administrative work, any non-profit organization could benefit from your skills. If you prefer to work boots to the ground in an organization, you could apply for programming or outreach jobs. If your background is in fundraising, many organizations are seeking experienced major gift officers.
Volunteering is by far the best way to get a job at a non-profit organization. Pack your resume full of volunteer work if you want to focus your career path in this direction. You could focus your volunteer efforts on programming if you want, but any experience is helpful.
If you have experience in a particular field, finding an organization that needs members on its board of directors is a great way to gain knowledge on how organizations run. For example, if you are a social worker, finding a non-profit that focuses on parents and children would be a great fit.
Of course, helping organizations fundraise is also a great way to show you are dedicated to the advancement of the non-profit.
If your post-secondary degree requires an internship, try to earn placement at a non-profit organization. It serves many purposes – you fulfill your internship requirements, you gain experience for your resume, and you learn if you are passionate about that particular organization’s mission without using up your free time volunteering there.
If you have several internships in your educational program, rotating through non-profits will give you the skills and experience needed. It will help you become well-rounded, something that will benefit you greatly when checking off the boxes on how to get a job at a non-profit.
Look At The Local Level
Although it may be difficult to find a job at the national level, many local chapters of non-profit organizations are often hiring. Looking through non-profit directories in your area may help you narrow down what is available to you. You can also begin with our Job Board.
It is also important to network when considering how to get a job at a non-profit. In many cases, non-profit organizations in an area are in contact with each other. They may attend similar events, or the employees may have previously worked at another organization.
In some cases where the non-profit helps provide services, such as an organization that deals with homelessness, they may have a referral relationship with other service based organizations in the area.
Luckily, many non-profits are beginning to offer remote jobs as well. It may not be necessary to limit your search to your area.
The Job Interview
Once you have landed an interview, it is important to ace the interview. When thinking about how to get a job at a non-profit, it is essential that you consider what the organization is looking for in its staff.
Most non-profits deal with the public every day. They need someone who is friendly and capable of interacting in a way that promotes the mission of the organization. Understanding the mission before you go into an interview will show that you have done your research and care about getting the job.
Overall, a well rounded resume and work background combined with experience with non-profits will help you land the job!
Landing a job at a non-profit does not have to be stressful. There is no clear path to this career, but taking these few steps can ensure your resume gets a second look! Making sure you appear professional and prepared can help launch you into the rewarding world of non-profits.