Idealist logoidealist
Land Your Dream Job
Careers that help you move from intention to action

Resources for Job Seeking in Difficult Times

Alexis Perrotta profile image

Alexis Perrotta

A Zoom interview illustration
Illustration by Marian Blair

During periods of instability, it may feel like navigating the job search is especially difficult, particularly if you’re facing personal challenges in addition to larger social issues or an unknown labor market. We at Idealist Career Advice are always striving to meet job seekers where they are, whether that’s by answering questions, addressing concerns, or offering expert advice on how to find a social-impact position that’s right for you.

Through one of our Idealist Live events, Job Seeking in a Difficult Time, we addressed concerns about finding a job during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

I had an opportunity to chat with two wonderful panelists, City Year’s Stephanie Chávez and Elyssa Feliciano from Ceres, as well as a Zoom room full of 600+ attendees. While much of our hour together explored the impact of COVID-19 on the job search, our conversation provided useful insights into how social-impact professionals can look for a new role during any period of uncertainty. And while we covered a lot in the webinar, when it comes to job searching advice, too much is never enough.

You’ll find plenty of useful information below, as well responses to some of the questions that came up during the event that we didn't have quite enough time to cover. I encourage you to check in with us right here on our Career Advice blog as we continue to publish new resources and expert advice on this topic.

Resources for those facing ageism

Unfortunately, we expect ageism to continue to be an issue in the job seeking and hiring processes—and because it’s often concealed, it’s tough to combat. These resources offer tips and advice for how older social-impact professionals can tailor their applications, connect with colleagues and peers, or address ageism on the job.

Pro Tip: If you’re an older job seeker concerned that a hiring manager may pass on your application materials due to ageist misperceptions, you may want to consider what you can remove from your resume. For example, there’s no longer much need to include different tools in Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, etc.). And unless you’re actually programming or doing complex data modeling in Excel, you can leave that out, as well (and if you are programming in Excel, be specific about that in your resume).

Resources for recent college grads

During the webinar, we spent quite a bit of time discussing AmeriCorps as an option for recent grads. There is an incredible variety of AmeriCorps positions available on Idealist, and a year of service is a great way to get some concrete professional experience on your resume while making an impact.

Here are some other resources for our recent college grads out there.

Pro Tip: Considering the uncertainty around the current job market, some recent grads may be considering heading back to school for a master's degree. If you're wondering whether that may be the right option for you, explore our Idealist Grad Schools resources to learn more.

Resources for sector switchers

In addition to the resources that you’ll find here, you’ll also want to put in the time when it comes to updating your resume and cover letters. It’s important (especially as an aspiring sector switcher) to mirror the language used in the nonprofit sector at large, and more specifically, by the organization that you want to work for.

For example, if they refer to themselves as an “organization” (and most nonprofits do) don’t use the word “company” in your cover letter. If they call themselves a "nonprofit" on their website, don't refer to their "non-profit" in your application materials. You get the idea.

Resources for interview prep

Resources for updating your resume and cover letter

Resources for gaining volunteer experience

Some other useful resources


Looking for more tips and resources for your job search? Follow Idealist on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and TikTok!

Alexis Perrotta profile image

Alexis Perrotta

As the Associate Director of Marketing and Communications at Idealist and a lifelong nonprofit professional, Alexis offers job seekers, game changers, and do gooders actionable tips, career resources, and social-impact advice.

Explore Jobs on Idealist