10 tips to help you break into the nonprofit sector

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On Wednesday, we co-hosted a webinar on how to switch from the for-profit sector to the nonprofit sector. Heather Krasna—Career Coach, Author, and Assistant Dean of Career Services at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health—offered an overview of the nonprofit sector and 10 helpful tips that should guide your job search. Here are a few that stood out:

Understand the sector

There are over 1.44 million nonprofits in the United States, representing different causes, organizational cultures, and lots of different jobs. It’s not enough to say you want to work at a nonprofit. What kind of nonprofit? Doing what kind of work? If you aren’t sure where to start, try this career exploration activity.

Use the right lingo

Seems simple, but if you find yourself writing “company” in your resume, switch that to “organization.” These small tweaks demonstrate you have an understanding of the organization and its work. Learn nonprofit lingo.

Tap into your network

While many of us groan at that thought of networking, we often have  a narrow understanding of our network. Thinking of people you meet in a variety of settings can help you broaden the number of people you can connect with. Here are nine questions to ask to help you uncover your network.

Get the necessary experience

If while searching you realize that mastering grant writing is critical for your switch, or that you might need an advanced degree, start taking action on gathering those skills. This way, you’ll be well prepared to present your new skillset and knowledge to a potential employer. Try volunteering with an organization to brush up on key skills.

Know what matters to you

Do you have certain salary requirements? Is work-life balance important to you? It’s OK to be clear about what you need in order to be a great professional. To jumpstart your thinking, here is a short list of common job benefits.

To get more even more tips, download a PDF of the presentation or watch a recording of the webinar below.

Enjoy!

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Photo Credit: Brt, Shutterstock

About Author

Former Editor and Creator of Idealist Careers, a publication of Idealist.org. Follow me on Twitter @ajlovesya.

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