So You Want to Work in a Non-Profit?

Lori Halley 07 September 2009 3 comments

With the passage of Labor Day, and the start of the new school year, changes in the air! Whether you’re looking to get your first job in the nonprofit sector, or switching directions in mid-career, here are a few key resources to help with your planning and job search.

Start at, where you’ll find a couple of comprehensive career guides that will set you off on the right track: The Idealist Guide to Nonprofit Careers for First-time Job Seekers and The Idealist Guide to Nonprofit Careers for Sector Switchers.

These guides will provide detailed information to help you better understand the nonprofit sector, your own needs and abilities, and where to start looking for a job that will be a good match. Worksheets help guide you through the process. Both publications are available free in PDF format — either as one file or in separate files, chapter by chapter — and you can also order a print version for a small charge.

And while you’re at, check out the podcast Nonprofit Sector Switching Advice with Steven Pascal-Joiner if you’re in career transition, or Starting Your Nonprofit Job Search if you’re new to the field. And for everyone, Meg Busse has great advice in the Career Corner: Don’t Search for Jobs; Search for People!

More Good Resources for Non-Profit Job Seekers

Making the Leap from College to the Nonprofit Sector suggests that “making the jump from undergrad to the nonprofit sector may be easier than you think” if you approach it the right way: “creating a strategy, understanding your passion, researching organizations, networking and getting involved.”

Volunteering for Non-profits as a Career Strategy is aimed at jobseekers in the for-profit world, but there’s sound advice here for those looking for a job in any sector.

(Does volunteering still carry weight on your resume, by the way? You bet. It counts as experience and shows a willingness to work, regardless of the field in which you’re looking for work, but especially so in non-profits. In fact, in a recent survey — and please let me know if you have a link to this, because I’ve misplaced it — more than half of non-profit employers said they considered volunteer experience to be the most important qualification for job applicants!)

Adapting Your Resume for a Nonprofit Job Search gives tips on content and format for your resume, as well as some sample resumes you can use as a template for your own.

On a related note, see also Landing a Non-Profit Job: How It’s Different by Roxy Allen, Nonprofit Program Associate at InsideNGO.

And finally, when you’re ready to roll out that resume and start browsing the job listings, see the list of Best Non-Profit Job Search Websites put together by Joanne Fritz at

Do you have helpful links or personal experiences to share, to help others who are looking to work with non-profits? Please leave a comment!

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Monday, 07 September 2009 at 11:57 PM

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  • Twitter Trackbacks for Wild Apricot Blog : So You Want to Work in a Non-Profit? [] on  said:

    Monday, 07 September 2009 at 4:38 PM
  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Thursday, 10 September 2009 at 11:20 AM

    Just found an article (by Todd Owens, of Dewey & Kaye) that might also be helpful to non-profit job seekers:
    How Do I Get That Nonprofit Job I've Been Seeking? 

  • Wild Apricot Blog said:

    Thursday, 10 September 2009 at 1:26 PM

    Whether you’re looking for a first job or making a career change, or simply looking to meet other professionals in the non-profit sector, LinkedIn is the social network of choice. Can online networking help your career? Already, 45% of all US employers

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