Looking for That Perfect Opportunity? | 5 Tips to Improve Your Online Job Search


While some of us find out about our next job through connections, the reality for many job seekers is that most opportunities are found online.

But if you’ve kept a close eye on job opportunities in your field of interest, but haven’t come across a real gem in a bit, here are a few strategies you can use to find more job opportunities both online and in person.

1. Search with new keywords

It can be easy to get in the habit of searching for the same roles again and again, especially if you’re searching Idealist.org job listings on a regular basis. Sometimes, searching with new keywords can be enough to bubble up some fresh opportunities. For example, one organization’s “program coordinator” might be called a “program manager” somewhere else. Here are other examples of job titles and what they may be called across the sector:

Program Coordinator

  • Senior Program Coordinator
  • Program Manager
  • Program Assistant
  • Program Specialist

Office Manager

  • Office Coordinator
  • Operations Manager
  • Administrative Assistant
  • HR Coordinator

Director of Development

  • Donor Relations Manager
  • Director of Fundraising
  • Associate Director of Development
  • Annual Giving Manager

Searching for more specific titles can also yield more results. Instead of searching for “analyst,” try searching “budget analyst” or “environmental analyst” positions to find jobs more aligned with your background.

2. Expand your geographical boundaries

It’s always a good idea to get a more complete picture of the landscape.

One way to increase your search results is to set your Idealist.org search radius higher. Although increasing your geographical reach increases commute time, it might be worth it for a better opportunity. Remember that you may be able to take advantage of public transportation, carpooling, or even remote work options, so don’t rule out something that’s a bit farther away without exploring the possibilities.

3. Discover more organizations in your field

Even if you have a few organizations in mind, it’s always a good idea to seek out other places doing similar work in order to a get a more complete picture of the landscape.

To find new nonprofits, Idealist.org is a great asset. In addition to searching for jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities, you can also search for organizations by using keywords and filtering for location. If the organization is not hiring at the moment, add them to your list and check regularly for future postings, and be sure to set up job alerts so you will receive an email whenever new positions go live.

4. Join a professional association

Joining a professional association in your field can help you learn new skills and make connections. In addition to keeping you in the know about workshops and events in your area, membership gives you contact and access to other members.

Associations will often facilitate virtual connections or run in-person networking events. Attending one or two happy hours won’t land you a job, but it may help you make new contacts in your field who can bring you closer to your next career move.

5. Reframe what you can do with the available options

For some, commuting longer for work may not be feasible. In a rural area, for example, you may not have access to professional associations or be able to find new organizations. Even if you find yourself working within these constraints, you can always try to look at what’s available with a new perspective.

If it seems like your work experience doesn’t match the jobs around you, it might be time to take an inventory of your transferable skills. Even if you come across a posting for a position that isn’t your dream job, it still may still be a great chance to learn new skills, meet new people, or gain knowledge in a new industry or sector. Sometimes a job serving as a stepping stone to your ideal career can be a great opportunity to learn and grow.


Have you ever been up against a job posting shortage while job searching? How did you manage to find your next opportunity? Add your best tips in the comments below.


Bri Riggio is an NCDA-certified career advisor whose goal is to help others find personal success and fulfillment through career exploration and coaching. She has specific knowledge of careers paths in international affairs, public policy, and education and is an avid writer, storyteller, and gamer.

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