Non-Profit Job Search
In order for you to get a job in the non-profit sector, you have to understand the purpose of the organization, believe in the cause at hand, and show a past record of skills and volunteerism that illustrate you as a good fit for a particular organization. The information below should help you understand the non-profit organization as well as how you can gain volunteer and work experience to help you in your full-time search.
What is a Non-Profit Organization?
Defined by Tax status
- 501(c)(3)…plus 25 other 501(c) categorizations
- 501(d), (e), (f), 521, and 527 categorizations
And Defined By What It’s Not
Fills gap between government and for-profit
Does “good” or addresses an issue
Types of organizations:
- Direct service organizations
- Professional associations
- Religious organizations
- Academic institutions
- Health-related organizations
Nonprofit Human Resources
- For organizations with fewer than 50 people on staff, HR is usually handled by the Executive Director or Office Manager.
- Usually 1 fulltime HR person for an organization with over 50 people on staff.
- Often only 1 fulltime HR staff person until an organization grows to at least 300 people.
- The majority of organizations do not have a recruitment budget.
They utilize the following channels:
- Word of mouth (99%)
- Current employee referrals (93%)
- Local newspapers (80%)
- Postings on others’ websites (73%)
- Recruitment from recent interns (67%)
- Postings on organization’s own site (64%)
Important Point: You need to get involved and network!!
* Data from a 2006 Idealist.org survey of over 300 nonprofit HR staff
On Campus Opportunities
- Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning – Holds Volunteer Fairs at the beginning of each semester with local non-profit organizations
- Various student organizations on campus have volunteer opportunities - Student Involvement
Search for Job and Volunteer Opportunities Locally
- www.simplyhired.com (Search jobs by zip code)
- www.handsoncentralcal.org (Search volunteer opportunities by zip code)
- www.volunteermatch.org (Search volunteer opportunities by zip code)
Search for Job and Volunteer Opportunities Nationally
- www.idealist.org - Click here for a guide to resources put together by Idealist.org.
If you know you want to “do good”, but don’t know what exactly you want to do, try the "Career Tracks" Exercise below:
Download, photocopy, or cut out/copy & paste at least 50 job postings that when you see them you think:
- Yeah, I’ve always wanted to do that.
- Huh, that sounds interesting but I’m not sure why…
Once you’ve collected at least 50 postings:
- Look for patterns or common themes
- Create at least 1 (no more than 5) potential career tracks
Assess your end goals (ideal positions, career paths)
- Take stock of your qualifications
- Work backwards to your build skills and experiences accordingly
Career Tracks exercise created by David Schachter, NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
Considerations for Resume & Cover Letter
- Make sure to include your volunteer experience
- Any additional skills and training you have that would make you a utility player (languages, computer programs, etc.)
- Show how you are a MATCH for their organization’s values AND functions
- Show you have exhibited passion and dedication