Get the Experience to Land the Job: A New 6-Part Series

We get a lot of questions from our readers that go a little something like this:

“I’m really interested in [FILL IN THE BLANK], but I don’t have any formal experience. How can I build my resume to get the gig?”

Getting legitimate nonprofit experience under your belt isn’t always as easy as volunteering with your organization of interest. In fact, as the nonprofit and social-impact sectors continue to evolve, skills that may have once been highly sought after almost exclusively in the private sector are now popping up in nonprofit job descriptions more and more often.

But if you’ve never done it before, how can you get the experience?

Next week, we’ll publish the first post in our six-part series exploring a variety of job titles and types in the nonprofit and social-impact sectors and what they usually entail. For each job or area of expertise, we’ll offer some examples of how to gain credible experience that you can feature on your resume.

We already have quite a few job titles and focus areas on our list—development manager, program analyst, and communications manager to name a few—but let us know if there’s a particular job type or title that you’d like us to tackle as a part of the series and we’ll do our best!

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As a seasoned communications professional with 15 years of nonprofit experience and 6 years of experience creating engaging content and copy, I love the idea that a thoughtfully crafted piece of content can spark social change. Here at Idealist Careers, I'm eager to offer job seekers, game changers, and do-gooders actionable tips, career resources, and "social-impact lifestyle" advice.
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    • Kenya
    • April 19, 2017

    I would love to learn how to get into social media management and web development

      • Alexis Perrotta
      • April 19, 2017

      Thanks for the comment, Kenya! We’ll be diving into both of those in this series, so stay tuned!

    • Maggie
    • April 24, 2017

    I would never apply for a job that I did not feel I genuinely had the right qualifications for, and sincerely believe I have many strong transferable assets and skills from my background in higher education administration. However, I am still having a hard time getting an interview with any non-profit organizations. I would love to know some strategies of how to break through to hiring managers (without coming off too aggressive, of course!).

      • Alexis Perrotta
      • April 26, 2017

      Hi Maggie. Thanks for your question! In reflecting a bit on exactly where you seem to get stuck, do you feel like it may be an issue with your resume or cover letter, or perhaps, you’re coming up against the luck of the draw just trying to get noticed?

    • Michelle
    • May 8, 2017

    I would love to hear more about getting into positions in Public Programming/Community Engagement as well as in Development – specifically around donor research & stewardship. Thanks for the great writing and advice!

      • Alexis Perrotta
      • May 8, 2017

      Thanks for your input, Michelle! Hopefully, you’ve seen the post about getting a foot in the door with some informal development experience:, but both of your topic suggestions certainly sound like they’re worth exploring! Would you mind being a bit more specific around what you mean by “public programming”? Are you thinking about community outreach and training opportunities, community organizing, or something else entirely? Let us know and we’ll see what we can do!

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