Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: Last Day of March Edition

It's the last day of March, and still we have reports of snow showers tonight on the East Coast.  Isn't it supposed to be Spring?  Anyway, here are your links for today...

  • 'Trends From the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference'-This post from NeighborWorks News isn't specifically about the nonprofit job search, but it is useful for all of you jobseekers.  Why?  It's important to know the latest nonprofit trends; that knowledge will be impressive to interviewers.  Plus, you should want to know all about the industry you want to join.  For example, you probably should have already at least had a idea that NTC was going on this week.
  • 'How to Handle Tough Interview Questions'-Since I wrote about nonprofit interviews today, I thought this article was very appropriate.  It's originally from Commongood Careers, but send thanks to the College of Charleston for reposting it!
  • 'Nonprofit Jobs: Flexibility and Opportunity--at a Cost'-This is a sort of sobering article, but it's important to read if you want to make sure you know all the risks and rewards of breaking into the nonprofit sector.  There is no doubt that there are some downsides to working at a non-profit; but of course, there is a downside to almost anything.  Read this article, weigh the pros and cons, and then you will know whether this career path is for you.

Practice Makes Almost Perfect: The Nonprofit Interview

Wait a second, didn't I already talk about how to prepare for a nonprofit job interview?  Am I running out of ideas already?  Well, not quite.  Today, I wanted to talk about one of my favorite techniques for preparing for a job interview: roleplaying.  Now, I have to admit that roleplaying a job interview can be extremely awkward.  Sometimes it's very hard to actually convince yourself that one of your best friends or a member of your family is actually an unfamiliar nonprofit job recruiter.  And if you do what I recommended in my previous post and use someone unfamiliar to roleplay, then you might feel even more uncomfortable.  However, here's something you might not realize: it's actually good to feel uncomfortable in a job interview roleplay.

Let's face it, job interviews are stressful.  Doing a roleplay is not going to make you perfectly relaxed for your interview, but it does help you get rid of some of those jitters if you do it right.  As I mentioned before, my first suggestion for your interview prep is to use someone unknown to you (or as unknown as possible, anyway); this will more closely simulate how your job interview is going to be.  Along with this, I would also recommend practicing at this person's place, preferably in a room that is devoid of distractions.  You might also consider dressing how you will be dressed at the interview; this is another way to simulate the actual interview better.  Really, the more uncomfortable you feel, the better. 

Not everything needs to be completely unknown to you, though.  If in past nonprofit interviews there has been a question that has consistently given you fits, then ask your mock interviewer to use that particular question.  If you still have problems with it, then keep going over that question until you find an answer you feel comfortable with.

Some people hire interview coaches to help them, and this is something I would endorse if you really feel you need expert help.  Obviously, these coaches will not come cheap; though I was lucky enough to know a family friend who was an interview coach.  But if your technique is so poor that you really need an expert, then you really shouldn't hesitate to spend the money.  Personally, I haven't used any of the popular coaching companies, so I would encourage you to ask around for recommendations on this front.

Obviously, my techniques are not for everyone.  If you have your own thoughts on preparing for non profit job interviews, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Featured Nonprofit Jobs

Here is a recent press release we put out about The Nonprofit Jobseeker...

The NonProfit Times, the leading publication for nonprofit organizations, wants employers to know about an exciting feature on The NonProfit Job Seeker (the publication's online destination for non-profit jobs) that they can use to highlight new jobs at their organizations: Featured Jobs. Once you apply one of the Featured Job options to one of your open positions, that job will be listed on The NonProfit Job Seeker's main page, and will be highlighted in yellow in the search results. This will guarantee that your job is seen by the the industry’s most sought-after talent: passive job seekers.

Passive job seekers are more highly sought after by companies, because this type of worker represents a larger portion of the workforce (83%, according to a recent survey by Yahoo!). Passives are constantly browsing the web for high quality nonprofit positions; but they aren't going to spend hours browsing through the site, they are going to want to know which jobs are the best to apply to. By using Featured Jobs, your company will have a higher chance of attracting these talented workers.
There are two options for Featured Jobs: a 30-day posting at $100, or a 60-day posting at $130. The only difference between these two options are the length of time and the price, so you will be getting the same great service no matter which length of time you choose. For more information on Featured Jobs and The Nonprofit Jobseeker, visit

About The NonProfit Times: Founded in 1989, The NonProfit Times is one of the leading publications on the nonprofit sector in the United States. The latest issue can always be viewed online at

Nonprofit Career Round-Up-3/30/2011

Another day, another round-up.  Let's see what the internet has in store for us today...

The Nonprofit Cover Letter: Do's and Don'ts

Of course, you should probably use a computer...

I promised in my link-round up yesterday that I would write a post about how to write a nonprofit cover letter; as you will see, I am a man of my word.  If you read the previously mentioned link-round up, you will already know that I provided a link from The Nonprofit Career Coach blog about writing an effective nonprofit cover letter.  The points listed in that article are very important; I especially think it's very useful to tell a story that will stick with the reader's mind. 

The Nonprofit Career Coach goes on to say that this should be a story that shows why you want to be a part of the nonprofit organization's mission.  This is definitely important, and I think when writing this story, you should make sure it helps show the kind of person you are.  One of the main aspects an NPO will consider when hiring is personality: is this going to be a person they can depend on?  This is important for for-profit companies, but it is especially important for non-profit organizations to know.  Given the mission-based nature of these jobs, it's important that your nonprofit cover letter emphasizes that you have core beliefs that correspond to the organization in question. 

This is why it is absolutely imperative to make sure your personality shines through the cover letter.  The story you tell at the beginning helps, yes, but the whole letter must be written in your style.  Avoid cookie-cutter phrases, and be as genuine as possible.  If a recruiter senses you put very little effort into your cover letter, then it is very likely he/she will not put much effort into hiring you.

Of course this means something you probably don't want to hear: don't ever use the same cover letter for multiple nonprofits.  This doesn't necessarily mean you need to start from scratch each time; in fact, it's kind of similar to my point on writing a nonprofit resume.  As with the resume, a non-profit cover lette should be tailored to the individual organization you are applying to.  Again, if 90% of your cover letter is the same to every place you apply to, you are doing something wrong.  You can work from a base cover letter and change the details from there; just don't do a copy/paste job.

At the end of the day, your non profit cover letter should be a document that leaves the recruiter with no doubt about who you are, and that your personality will be the perfect fit for whatever mission they undertake.  If you follow these tips (along with the ones from The Nonprofit Career Coach), you will have a successful cover letter on your hands.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up-3/29/2011

I'm going to start doing a link round up, starting today.  The purpose of this is fairly simple: while my articles are designed to help you with your non profit job search, there are countless of other articles out on the web that I read everyday.  When I find some that I think will be helpful to nonprofit job seekers, I will include them in this round-up.  So without further ado, here are the links for today...

Rejection Letters: The Grieving Process

Perhaps the most important trait to have when hunting for non-profit jobs is thick skin.  Like it or not, you are going to be rejected.  In fact, this will happen more often than not; it's just the nature of the game, unfortunately.  It's never fun to get those job rejection letters, and it's even worse knowing that they were probably copy-pasted from a meticulously written sample.  If you are going to eventually find yourself in the nonprofit sector, you are going to have to be deal with the sting of rejection, get back on your feet, and apply for another position. 

I am quite aware this is easier said than done.  My first few times getting the dreaded rejection e-mail (or just not hearing back at all) were some of the hardest job experiences I had to deal with.  It's almost akin to The Stages of Grief: first you get angry, then you get depressed, and you wonder if you're ever going to find a job.  But sticking with the grieving process analogy, it's important that you get to that final step: acceptance.  Yes, it's awful that I wasn't chosen for that job I really wanted, and yes, it's important to acknowledge how much it hurts.  But it's also important to remember that being rejected for a job is not an indictment of your personality.  More often than not, the reason you are not hired is because the employer found someone who is a better fit than you are. 

But the most effective job rejection response is to simply apply for another job.  Let's face it, you're never going to get a job if you just wallow about the one that got away.  The nonprofit industry is moving fast and if you don't get back on your feet after a setback, you are going to be left behind.  So get back on your feet, weary job hunter!  Opportunity isn't going to come to you, after all.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Quick Note

I just launched a Squidoo page for Nonprofit Jobs.  It will function in a similar matter, but will serve as more of a quick tips page than full blown articles (like this blog provides).  So if you want some quick tips on how to find nonprofit jobs, head on over there and check it out!  I will update it with something new everyday.

Are You Treating Your Non Profit Job Search Like a Job?

When going through your nonprofit job search, you might be thinking how the process feels like a job itself.  Indeed, with all the time and effort you put into finding the right not-for-profit job, it might seem like you are already employed.  Well believe it or not, this is a good thing.  Because the fact of the matter is, the more you treat your job search like a job, the better chance you will have in actually getting the position you desire.

Granted, this can be hard.  It's difficult to convince yourself that sitting at home on the computer browsing a nonprofit job board is your employment, but it really is the best way to get employed fast.  This doesn't mean you have to get dressed up in a suit and tie everyday while you browse (though honestly, it doesn't hurt the effect), but it does mean you should set up a job search schedule for the week.  In fact, I would recommend putting aside 20 hours a week to look for work.  That might sound like a lot; and it is.  However, it doesn't have to be as tedious as it sounds. 

Looking for work doesn't just mean browsing job pages, though that is a part of it.  It also means, however, volunteering and doing some major networking.  So for an example, you could spend a few hours a day looking for nonprofit work on the internet, and the rest of the day attending a networking event in your town.  As long as you have a schedule set up, you will be successful.

When it comes to the normal job search, however, you should be as organized as possible.  Whenever you apply for a job, you should immediately write down what that position was.  That way, you won't waste time looking at a position you have already applied to.  This list will also help you in other ways; it's a good way to keep you motivated (by seeing all the work you have accomplished during the day), and it will help you keep yourself accountable (the same way you would be accountable to your supervisor at work).

All in all, if you treat your job search like the job you want, you will find you will be more successful than if you just do it casually.  Besides, when you actually do get the nonprofit job of your dreams, you will find all the organization you have done will help you do better at your job; it's all about getting yourself in the right frame of mind!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Straight Talk: You Won't Get Your Dream Job Immediately

We all have a dream job that we want, but here's some tough news for you: more than likely, you will not get the job of your dreams immediately.  It's certainly not fun to think about it but with today's market, it's the way it is.  As much as you might hate the sound of it, you will probably have to do some work you might not be so enthused about before you can do the kind of non profit work you really want to do. 

Let's say you really want to work in fundraising at a leading non-profit organization.  From all the job research you have done on the company, it seems like the perfect place for you.  Unfortunately, you have also found out that they don't have any positions in fundraising yet.  However, they are hiring for some entry level PR jobs.  You have some interest in PR (in fact, you used to do some of that when you got out of college), but you don't necessarily feel as comfortable doing it.  It's at this point where you have a decision to make: do you apply for this PR job or keep looking for your perfect job?

Kind of a leading question, I know, but the answer should really be apply for the PR job.  Yes, it might not be what you had in mind, but you can't be too picky these days.  Besides, if you do get the job, who knows what opportunities might arise in the future.  By working at a nonprofit, even if it's not the work you want to do, you will make more contacts than just blowing them off in search of your dream job.  And you might even love doing the other job more than you thought.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sealing the Deal

You might think that just getting an initial interview is a good sign that you are going to get the job you want; but really, it's only the first step.  Don't get me wrong, if you are even chosen for an initial interview, it means the employer thinks you have some potential to succeed at the position you have applied for.  But really, the first interview is really just, as harsh as it might sound, a way to weed out the merely good candidates from the ones that are truly exceptional.  Basically, it's a screening process. 

I've already described what you should expect from your first nonprofit job interview, so what exactly should you expect from the second (or the third)?  In general, the second interview at a non profit is where the employer will begin to question you for specific instances to back up what you have said in your interview.  As long as you didn't actually lie in your resume, then this shouldn't be a problem for you.  Basically, you are going to be asked to recount experiences at your previous job where you made a difference for the company.  Once again, it is important to be honest here.  The interviewer is only going to be asking you things that were apparent from your resume.  If you hesitate even a little bit, it will seem like your resume was not entirely honest.

The second interview is also a time to get you more acquainted with the specific responsibilities that the position will entail.  This would also include the type of compensation you would receive.  It is important to make sure to have your interviewer elaborate on any of the things they explain if you don't understand it.  Remember, as the old cliche goes, the only stupid question is the one not asked.

Non profit organizations will have no more than three interviews.  If a third interview does happen, it will be the final interview.  This interview will be to finalize the employer's views on you as a person and employee.  If you get to a third interview, you are well on your way to getting the job.  All you need to do at this point is be confident, and show that you are ready for any challenge the company will throw at you.  Whatever you did on the second interview must have impressed them so really, don't change anything you have done.  It all boils down to this: be yourself.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Can Blogging Get You a Job?

Although blogging is thought of as a relatively new phenomenon, it has actually been around for quite some time.  Indeed, the first blog can be traced back as early as the mid 1990s.  It was only around 2000, however, that blogs really began to rise in popularity.  Nowadays, you can find a blog about almost anything.  Heck, would anyone think years ago there would be a whole blog dedicated to how to get a nonprofit job?  But I digress...

So what does all this relate to getting a non-profit job?  Well now that blogs are so popular, every organization wants their own company blog.  By creating your own blog, you are getting valuable experience in a skill that all companies, especially non profits, desire.  Even if you never had a particular interest in writing, now is a good time to start a blog to add to your resume.  If you are reading this blog, chances are you want to join a nonprofit organization, so I would recommend creating a blog that has to do with that industry.  One suggestion is to make a nonprofit news blog.  Now of course, you can't just copy/paste the latest news about not-for-profits and expect that to impress anybody.  What you should do is summarize the news and then add your own opinion to the piece.  It dosn't have to be groundbreaking; you just have to show that you have solid opinions, can be coherent, and keep the attention of the reader.

Even if you don't want to end up getting a job as a nonprofit blogger, just writing about nonprofits will sow potential employers that you are serious about the industry.  And that alone will make all the work you put into your nonprofit blog worth it.

Nonprofit Job Interviews: The Follow Up

You know the drill by now.  You just finished up an interview with a non-profit company, and thought it went pretty well.  What's the first thing you do once you get home?  Why, you right that follow-up e-mail that you have so planned out in your head and---wait, you haven't been doing this?

Well if you haven't you need to get on it right away.  The follow-up e-mail is one of the most important aspects of getting a nonprofit job.  It might not sound fair, but if you don't even write a simple "thank you" note to the job you interviewed at, it is very likely you won't even be considered for the job.  Harsh, I know, but true.  But like all things job-related, it's not as simple as this.  The follow-up email has to walk a very fine line between polite and desperate. 

Yes, one of the worst things you can do with a job interview follow up email is to come off as desperate.  Of course, this is easier said than done, and what is desperate to one person might seem normal to another.  So how should you go about writing this?

Well first of all, make sure it isn't too long.  The last thing an employer wants to do is read a long-winded thank you e-mail.  It may sound blunt, but it's a waste of time for busy nonprofit employees.  They want to see that you acknowledged that they took time to interview you, but they don't want the Gettysburg Address either.  So keep it short and sweet.  Something like this would be perfect:

To [Insert Interviewer's Name Here]:

I wanted to thank you for taking the time to interview me today.  Everything you told me about the position sounds perfect for me, and I look forward to hearing back from you in the near future regarding this position.


Your Name
See?  Short, to the point, and polite.  That's exactly what the not-for-profit you interviewed at wants to hear.

Also, you should not send any more correspondance to the employer if they tell you not to call for updates on the job.  If you really want to kill your chances of getting the non profit job of your dreams, there is no better way than bombarding the organization with e-mails.  It's sort of like dating that way; you don't want to come off as too agressive or it will seriously turn off the prospective employer.

So that's what I have for you  for this post.  Any further thoughts or questions?  As always, leave them in the comments!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Social Networks and Nonprofits: A Perfect Pair

I've already talked about how important networking is in getting into the nonprofit sector.  I didn't mention, however, that there are more ways to network other than just attending networking events.  Perhaps you have heard of this new thing called social networking.  Supposedly it's a big deal these days. 

Joking aside, using tools like Twitter and Facebook can really help you in your quest to start your career in the non profit sector.  Excuse the shameless self-promotion, but you probably already know of one Twitter account that can help you search for non profit jobs.  But besides this, social networking websites can be used to gain a better understanding of the company you are hoping to join.  While reading the "About Us" page on an NPOs official website may give you some knowledge of what the organization does, looking at their Facebook page will give you a better idea of the culture of the company.

As for the actual "networking," I would recommend (if you haven't already) immediately setting up a profile on LinkedIn.  This website is essentially the MySpace for professionals.  It allows you to post your job history, resume, and (most importantly) connect with other professionals.  You can also apply for jobs through LikedIn, and this is when the site really starts to pay off.  If you know someone who knows someone at a nonprofit you apply to on the site, you will be informed of this on the sidebar.  As we all know, connections are key to getting a job you want, so this is why I did most of my job searching through LinkedIn; it allowed me to see what potential connections I had at the compnies I applied to.

Of course, you cannot completely avoid regular networking.  Social networking should be used as a complement to, and not a replacement for, traditional networking.  An example of this delicate process would be using Twitter to connect with people going to a networking event.  One of the hardest parts of these events is not knowing anybody.  By using Twitter (or some other social networking site), you will have instant connections before you even get there, giving you a comfort zone.

What are your thoughts on social networking?  As always, we'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nailing The Nonprofit Interview

One of the most important parts of the job searching process is, of course, the interview.  If you are lucky enough to get to this step, pat yourself on the back.  If an organization asks you to come in for an interview, it means they think of you highly, and you are likely one of the finalists for the position.  In a field that is as competitive as the nonprofit sector, it is extremely important to make the best impression you can during your nonprofit interview.  So here are some tips I have used that should really impress your interviewer:

  1. I've mentioned this in a previous post, but it bares repeating: research the organization you are interviewing at!  If possible, you should bring up specific things you found out about the company.
  2. Always make eye contact.  This may seem obvious, but it's something that is very easy to forget during the heat of the interview.  One way to make sure you do this is....
  3. Practice before the interview.  If possible, try and do it with someone you don't know too well; say, a friend of your parents. This will help simulate the actual interview better, because in all likelihood you will not know this person.
  4. Don't hesitate to ask the interviewer to repeat a question if you are confused.  It is often thought that asking this makes you look stupid, but this couldn't be farther from the truth.  On the contrary, it shows that you are listening.
  5. Bring an extra copy of your resume, just in case.
  6. Be upbeat and positive.  Even if something before the interview happened to upset you, it is imperative that you put that behind you.  Interviewers look closely at body language and attitude; one little negative signal can sink your chances
Next, here are some nonprofit interview questions you should expect to be asked (and the best ways to answer said questions):

  1. "Tell me some of your biggest weaknesses": This is sort of a trick question.  What I mean by this is that you should not, under any circumstances, answer this truthfully.  I don't mean you should lie; I mean you should find a way to spin one of your negatives.  An example of how to do this is to say something like "sometimes I work too quickly, so I always make sure to go over everything I write to check for errors."
  2. "What are your biggest strengths?": Make sure to emphasize the skills that will be most helpful to your potential employer.
  3. "Tell me about yourself:" This is a standard question, one that you are almost 100% guaranteed to hear.  When you answer this question, keep the answer related to the job in question.  In other words, don't talk about your obsession with Dungeons and Dragons.
  4. "Why have you been unemployed for a while?": This is a tough one.  You should be totally honest, and be sure to mention the tough conditions in the economy.  But also say how you were looking for the perfect job for you, and didn't just want something that would pay you the most.  Of course this question may not apply to you...
  5. "Why did you leave your last job?": Avoid the word "fired" or "terminated" if this was the case with your last position.  Say things like "my contract ended" or say that you wanted to pursue a career that fit your personality better.  Whatever you say, you should be sure to make it a positive statement.
Finally, be sure to ask some questions of your interviewer.  While it might seem more impressive if you don't have any questions ("doesn't it show that I understand everything?"), asking a question will show initiative on your part.  They don't have to be complicated questions; it can be something as simple as "who will be my supervisor?" or "is there a particular way I will need to be dressed?"  Just be sure you don't ask something you have already been told.  That will definitely make it seem like you weren't listening.

As always, leave your feedback in the comments section.  I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Stay Current With Nonprofit News

Even if you don't get hired by the nonprofit organization you applied for doesn't mean you should end your contact with them.  Indeed, staying in touch with the organizations and employees you contacted in your nonprofit job search will also help you to know more about the latest developments in the nonprofit field, and it will also potentially give you a leg-up on the latest job openings.  Plus, staying in touch will show the company that you are very serious about working for them.  The next time a job opening comes up, this is something they will keep in mind when going over potential candidates. 
I mentioned how staying in touch with organizations you contact will help you keep up with the latest nonprofit news; I can't stress how important it is to know as much as you possibly can about the field you are looking to break into.  This is especially true for nonprofits; Nonprofits are growing quickly and changing almost everyday.  If you are up to date on what is happening in the nonprofit sector, you will be a real asset for any NPO that you eventually join.  It will also help you stand out among the thousands of job applications that they receive, which is key to getting hired for any position.

You should also consider joining the various Non profit Networks in the country.  Here is a list of some that will make a great impression on your resume:

  • Young NonProfit Professional Network: This is a local organization and is free to join.  As the name might imply, this network is especially ideal for those who are just coming out of college.  Among the features you will get is a handy e-mail list that will keep you up-to-date with the latest nonprofit books, speaking events, and more.
  • Bridgestar: Bridgestar is a very well known Nonprofit Network, and I highly recommend becoming a member.  They provide many tools to help you succeed in the nonprofit sector, including some great newsletters.
  • The Nonprofit Network: This is a great non profit club to join, especially for it's event board.  This will keep you up to the date for the latest nonprofit events your area.  This is especially useful for finding some great networking events.
Of course, there are plenty of other Non profit networks out there.  What are some of your favorites?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Doing Your Homework: Researching Non Profit Organizations

So now that you have decided to work for a nonprofit organization, it is time to start looking for the right job for you.  There are hundreds of thousands of NPOs out there, so it is essential that you know exactly the kind of nonprofit career you are looking for (i.e. are you more interested in marketing or management?).  Once you have this out of the way, you can begin researching non profit organizations in your area.  Now, even though you have significantly narrowed your search engine results down, you will still likely find that the amount of nonprofits that are hiring are still pretty overwhelming.  How on Earth are you supposed to know which one is right for you?  Well luckily for you, I have some simple questions you can ask yourself that will help you find the right NPO for you:

  1. Does your world view align with the organization you want to join?
  2. Is the organization the right size for you?
  3. This might seem obvious, but it isn't always thought about: does it seem like there will be a chance to move up in the NPO?
  4. Research the nonprofit work environment: does it seem like a friendly environment that you would thrive in?
If you answered yes to most or all of these questions, then you will most likely find that this is a non profit company that you will be comfortable working at.  As much as pay is important, comfort is even more so.  You can get what you think is the best nonprofit salary you can get, but if you don't ultimately like the place and people you work with, then you will be missing out on the best parts of working at a nonprofit: enjoying the work environment.  This is not to say that salary should not be a part of your decision.  We do live in a world where making money is necessary to your survival, so you have to make sure you are being compensated fairly for the work you did.  Still, you should put enjoyment of your work ahead of salary; with salary being your number two concern.  There is really nothing worse than dreading going to the place you work everyday for the forseeble future. 

So when you are researching potential not-for-profit job opportunities, make sure you go over these questions in your head.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Why You Should Work in Nonprofit

Chances are, if you re reading this blog you are at least somewhat interested in working or a not-for-profit organization.   But maybe you still have some doubts.  Maybe you're concerned about the lower career salaries when compared with what you would get at a for-profit job.  Perhaps the lack of resources that is inherent with nonprofits scares you.  Or maybe you're just not sure you can handle the amount of time and effort you would have to devote.  Well perhaps I'm a little biased here, but here are some reasons why choosing a nonprofit job is the right choice for your career path.

I've already mentioned the potential negatives that come with joining an NPO.  It's true that you might not make as much money than by joining a huge corporation.  But here are some tangible benefits that will help make that seem very small, indeed. Working for an organization that is dedicated to a great cause will help instill you with a sense of satisfaction.  Knowing that the work you are doing will likely have a positive effect on many people will help what might be tedious work become more enjoyable.

Still not convinced?  Does that line of reasoning seem to ethereal?  Well here's something that might catch your attention:

Nonprofits need new employees with fresh new ideas more than ever.

That's right, by working at a nonprofit you will have a better chance at getting a sustainable job.  This is because, as is explained in article by Business Weekly, nonprofits realize that they need to start hiring outside of the nonprofit field in order to get the leaders they really need.  There is real opportunity to not only get a rewarding job, but also to advance through the ranks.  If you show yourself to be someone who is dedicated and responsible, you will find that you will quickly become a great asset to the not-for-profit organization that you join. 

So if you are the type of person that enjoys a good challenge, and wants to be a leader in the industry they work in, then getting a non profit job is really the best choice for your career.  So while you are looking through a list of nonprofit organizations to work at, consider the advice in this blog.

Friday, March 11, 2011

College Graduates and the Great Recession

The recent Great Recession hit all job seekers, but it might have hit recent college graduates the hardest of all.  At the height of the Recession, it was very hard for even the brightest of college grads to get a paid position.  Things have improved, however, and now 24% of college grads have a job waiting for them after graduation (this according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers).  Despite this, however, things are still hard for graduates.  Nonprofit jobs are especially popular amongst this demographic, as they provide an opportunity to make real changes in communities.  With all of this in mind, here are are some steps that college students can take to get their first step into the nonprofit sector:

  • Look for volunteer or internship opportunities at nonprofits:  While a paid position is obviously ideal for post-college jobseekers, any chance you can get to get started in the nonprofit field should be jumped upon.  By voluntarily applying to these types of positions, it will show the employers that you are truly dedicated to the cause they champion.  And with a  little hard work, it is very likely that you will be kept on for a permanent position at the company.
  • Go traveling: This might seem like an odd suggestion for somebody looking to get work, but going abroad on your own shows employers that you are capable of working independently.  Plus, the knowledge you gain from your travels will help you to be a more well rounded individual, which is very attractive to nonprofit organizations.
  • Get involved in local clubs/events: This is especially helpful if you can get a position doing planning or any kind of role that involves organization.  This will allow you to gain first hand knowledge of the kind of work you might be doing at a nonprofit.  Also, it will allow you to do some valuable networking, which is one of the most important things a recent college graduate can do.  Speaking of which....
  • Network, network, network: This can’t be stressed enough.  While it’s possible to get a job in the nonprofit sector without contacts, it’s extremely difficult without them.  Search for nonprofit career fairs on the web, or attend local job meet-ups and events.  These are the places you should frequent as often as possible.  You might not immediately get the results you want from networking (and networking is most definitely not the most fun thing to do) but with a little patience, you will find that it will be your best path into the nonprofit world.
 These are the tips we find the most helpful for college grads.  Feel free to share your own ideas as well.    

Thoughts on the Japanese Tsunami

I just wanted to make a quick note to send my condolences and thoughts to the folks in Japan that were affected by the horrible earthquake (and ensuing tsunami).  Everybody at The Nonprofit Times sends their best wishes out to the victims and their families.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Online Presence Managment-Making a Good First Impression

In today’s day and age, many potential nonprofit job seekers have their presence all over the web, especially on social networking services like Facebook and MySpace.  Sites like these are great for friends and family, but it can create problems when it comes to employment.  Yes, you and your buddies might find the pictures from your friend’s bachelor party hilarious; but it’s a safe bet that a potential employer will not.  Because of the ease of use of search engines, it has become easier for employers to scout out recent interviewees.  Yes, the internet giveth; but it also taketh away. 

It might sound wrong, but what an employer discovers about your outside life on the internet will indeed be a factor in whether or not you are hired.  In 2005,, a job search and networking website, found that 75 percent (!) of companies use the internet to research job candidates.  And of these, 26 percent have actually decided not to hire candidates because of what they found.  That may not sound like a whole lot but in the big picture, it really is.

All of this information doesn’t mean you have to turn your Facebook or other social networking tools into sterile zones reminiscent of THX-1138.  What it does mean is that when you are applying for a job, you should think twice about the information you choose to share with the world.  With this in mind, here are some tips on how to save yourself from potential embarrassments:

Party Smart
Let’s face it-when you are at a party, you are going to do things that you might later regret.  And chances are there are going to be those that think it would be pretty hilarious to post those pictures of you on the internet.  And really, it’s not just the Facebooks of the world that you have to worry about.  Indeed, there are plenty of public photo sites out there like Photobucket where those harmful photos can be uploaded with ease.  So what we’re trying to say here is this: you can have a good time when you party, but party smart.  Oh, and try to avoid the cameras.

Get Rid of Embarrassing Content
Before you apply for a job, Google yourself and see what you find.  As a matter of fact, you should search for yourself on all of the major search engines.  If you find content about you that could potentially come back to haunt you, attempt to get rid of it.  This can be done by contacting the webmaster and asking that the material be removed from the site in question.  And if you’re too lazy to do this yourself, there are plenty of web services you can use to do it for you, like 

For your personal sites, you should delete anything you don’t want to be seen; even if you think there is no way it will be found.  Remember, there is no such thing as being too cautious when there is a job on the line!

In Conclusion
Social networks are a great tool, and it’s easy to forget that by using them you are really putting yourself out there for the world to see.  I’ll end with this: you don’t need to be paranoid about what you post; you just need to be smart.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How to Make a Great Resume

Arguably the most important step you must take during the process of looking for a nonprofit job (or any job for that matter) is probably the most self-explanatory: creating your resume.  Creating a resume sounds simple enough, right?  It's just a list of all your previous work and education experience, how hard could it possibly be?  Well it's a lot more involved than one might think.

A lot of job candidates simply create one resume and use it for all of the jobs that they apply to.  While this might seem like a reasonable approach, it is very much the wrong thing to do.  Say you go to the Nonprofit Times' Job Seeker and see a position for an Executive Director.  This is a job right up your ally, so you submit your resume.  While the resume you submitted may have information that proves you are a good fit for the position, it is also loaded with things that are totally irrelevant to the position. While you might be proud of the volunteer work you did at a local farm, this is probably not information that you need to include for this particular job.

The point here is you need to create more than one resume for each job you apply to.  The best way to do this is create your main resume as a starting point.  Whenever you find a nonprofit position that seems appealing, you would then make the necessary changes to it that will best appeal to that company.  If you find yourself submitting the same resume to every position you apply to, you are doing exactly the wrong thing.  Even if the changes you make seem small, they will make all the difference if they highlight the skills this particular job is looking for.  Here are some tips on how to do this:

  • Change some words in your resume to match what the company is looking for.  This will show that you are doing more than just applying to every job you see
  • It is not enough to say what you did at a previous company: you should also explain how this helped the company.  For example, it's all well and good that you did social media work at your last job; but don't you think it's pertinent to mention that your work on the company Facebook helped drive more traffic to your company?
  •  As I touched on before, make your resume short and sweet.  This can be done not only by cutting irrelevant information, but also making sure your descriptions don't go past one line.  By being as concise as possible, it will show potential employers that you are not overly wordy.
  • ALWAYS proofread before submitting.  There is nothing more embarrassing than seeing an obvious typo after you have sent in your resume.
These tips should help you get a good start on your resume building.  Of course, there are worlds of resume tips out there, so feel free to share any ideas you have found have worked for you in the past.

Welcome to Nonprofit Jobs!

Although the United States Economy is slowly improving, there is no doubt that we still live in tough economic times.  In fact, things may be getting even tougher as the economy improves.  As more and more jobs are being added to the market, the competition for those jobs will be heating up.  This is especially true in the nonprofit sector, which is becoming increasingly popular.  In order to get the job of your dreams, you need to have a leg up on the competition.

That's where this blog comes in.

As the description of this blog states, Nonprofit Jobs is a companion to The NonProfit Times, the leading publication on nonprofits in the United States.  The goal here is simple: to make the dream of obtaining a nonprofit job a reality.  This assistance will mostly come in the form of career tips and other articles (one of which I will be posting very soon).  We hope you find this blog a great resource in your nonprofit job search!