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The Idealist Careers Guide to Searching for a Job Online and Offline

Alexis Perrotta

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Some of us have a clear sense of how we want to make an impact in the nonprofit space from the very start while others need a little help to really understand what's out there. If you find yourself at absolute square one, asking "What kinds of jobs are available in the sector? And in what types of organizations?" then you'll want to run through this career track exercise.

If on the other hand, you look at the nonprofit world and know exactly where you'd like to lend your passion and expertise, you'll need some help finding a job that's a fit for you. And that's where we come in.

If you're ready to dig into the nonprofit job search, use these tried and true tips to make the most of your job search, both online and offline.

Job searching offline

  • Tap into your network. Let people know you are looking, and reach out to people in your field for informational interviews. The more specific you are about what you are looking for, the more people can help, so don't be shy!
  • Attend events. If you are new to the nonprofit sector, your best bet is to connect with fellow nonprofit professionals and organizations offline. This will allow you to build your network and learn what’s happening in your community. Discover nonprofit networking and professional development events to attend through your local Young Nonprofit Professionals Association, Nonprofit Council, and United Way.
  • Take advantage of colleges and universities. If you’ve attended college, you may be able to rely on your alma mater’s career center for support with resume reviews, connecting to fellow grads in your field, or keeping you informed on any upcoming alumni chapter gatherings in your city. Additionally, many colleges and universities offer career support to the public (non-alumni) in the form of workshops, fellowships, and events.

Job searching online

  • Make the most of Idealist.org. With thousands of jobs at nonprofits, social enterprises, and government agencies around the world, Idealist.org is the first stop for people who want a job that makes a difference.
  • Leverage social media. Each social networking site can be used in a variety of ways in order to build your network, discover new organizations, and browse job and opportunities. You'll also want to connect with nonprofits through by following their pages so you always know when they have a new opportunity. And be sure to engage with their content to get a better sense of who they are and who they serve.
  • LinkedIn. Look for people who work at organizations you are interested in and ask to meet with them to learn more about their careers.

Pro Tip: When you find a job on Idealist.org that you'd like to apply for, make sure you print a copy of the position description if it’s online—after the application deadline it may vanish from the job board.

Alexis Perrotta

As the senior editor of Idealist Careers and a lifelong nonprofit professional, Alexis offers job seekers, game changers, and do gooders actionable tips, career resources, and social-impact advice.

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