Connect with people, not positions: How to use Idealist to find idealists

Photo credit: STILLFX, Shutterstock
Photo credit: STILLFX, Shutterstock

Hopefully, if you’re reading this post, you already use some of Idealist’s many resources to find fantastic jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities around the world. We’ve got video tutorials, career advice, weekly opportunity spotlights, email alerts that keep you posted on the latest opportunities, and more!

Yet, for any of you who’ve spent time looking for opportunities, employees, advice, or inspiration, you know that it’s easy to get stuck in a routine. Need a job? You might dutifully scroll through your daily email alerts, bookmarking jobs to apply to that week. Expanding your team? Perhaps you post new positions on the site and just as dutifully read through all the applications that stream in. Need advice or inspiration? Maybe you subscribe to our blog and read through new posts, liking an article that sparks a thought or sharing it through social media.

While these search methods can be (and hopefully are!) very useful, they all fall under passive forms of seeking: they require waiting for the right job (or candidate, or article) to come to you. Sometimes, though, the best way to find a perfect opportunity is to create one.

Here’s one less conventional way to use Idealist that empowers you to actively discover what you seek: Search for people, not positions.

Here’s how:

For individual users:

Instead of browsing through the opportunities on our site, use categories and keywords to search for organizations near you doing work you find inspiring. Then reach out to them! Try setting up an informational interview, stop by for a tour, see if there’s any way to get involved. If not, that’s okay! At the very least, you’ve connected with a great organization and you can learn from them regardless. Stay in touch by following organizations online, attending their events, and simply spending time with them. All it takes is one conversation to spark a great new idea or stumble upon the perfect opportunity.

For organizations:

The same technique applies for organizations seeking employees, volunteers, or advice. Use the site to find and connect with similar organizations: become resources for one another. Have a question about grant writing? Ask a nearby organization what tactics helped them secure their last grant. Need help finding consistent tutors for your after-school program? How are the other education non-profits tackling the same problem? The more you connect with the other leaders in your field, the more you can learn from and support one another. Chances are that in the process, you’ll also find individuals interested in volunteering and working for your cause, as you’ll be in conversation with people all working toward the same mission.

The same concept holds true for all the individuals on our site. There are hundreds of Idealists on the site with incredible stories, skills, ideas, and experiences. By reaching out to each other, we can start conversations, figure out solutions, and find opportunities that may not be as obvious as the ones posted on our site daily. We have over 90,000 organizations and 650,000 individuals on our site, and one thing that connects us all: we are Idealists, and we’re here to help.

Have you used Idealist in an interesting way to connect with new people? Share your tips below!


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    • Geoffrey Berz
    • September 10, 2014

    Neat article.

    It would be great to read more about why Idealist provides a different/better platform to connect with like-minded individuals in our job searching. Certainly the angle of vision Idealist sheds light on is in the non-profit world, but for those seeking out individual connections, Idealist may not be the first site that comes to mind. Perhaps it should, and maybe one day soon!

    I am interested to read other thoughts on this differentiation!

    My Best!

    • Kashish
    • September 11, 2014

    Nice article Nandita. What you mentioned, is true indeed. The various methods that job-seekers use is passive. Just by applying one thinks that there would be call from employers, though the reality is that in bulk application the talent gets lost.Very well said – Connect with people,not positions.

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