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.
- Job Seeker Tips | Should Your Resume Include Employment Dates?
- Tips for Older Job Seekers
- Top Tips for Learning New Technology After 50
- What to Do If You're "Overqualified" for a Job
- Senior Corps: In their own words, “Senior Corps is a network of national service programs for Americans 55 years and older, made up of three primary programs that each take a different approach to improving lives and fostering civic engagement. Senior Corps volunteers commit their time to address critical community needs including academic tutoring and mentoring, elderly care, disaster relief support, and more.”
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.
- Making the Most of a Temp Job
- Adjusting to the 9-to-5
- The Idealist Guide to Searching for a Job Online and Offline
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.
- Be Bold | How to Pitch Yourself for a Job That Doesn’t Exist (Yet!)
- Ask Alexis | How Can I Break into the Nonprofit Sector at 60?
- Returning to Work After a Career Break
- Ask Alexis | Can I Use My Fashion Design Skills in the Nonprofit Sector?
- Ask Alexis | Can I Work in the Nonprofit Sector Without a College Degree?
- From Private to Nonprofit | Inside the Culture Shift, Parts 1, 2, and 3
- One Thing I Wish I Knew Before Transitioning to the Nonprofit Sector
Resources for interview prep
- Interview Q&A | “What Did You Do During Quarantine?”
- How to Prepare for a Video Interview
- Interviewing While Non-Binary | Tips for Job Hunting with Confidence
- Check out our entire Interview Q&A series. In each post, we dive into the reasons why an interviewer may ask a particular question, and how to prepare the perfect response.
Resources for updating your resume and cover letter
- How to Embrace the Nonlinear on Your Resume
- 4 Old Resume Rules to Ignore
- The Best Font to Use on Your Resume
- 4 Common Resume Mistakes | Find them, Fix Them
- The Only Resume Cheat Sheet You’ll Ever Need
- 3 Times When a Strong Cover Letter Can Make a Difference
- Your Guide to Crafting a Nonprofit Cover Letter
Resources for gaining volunteer experience
- How to Get Involved in Virtual Volunteering
- 9 Ways to Help Others During the Coronavirus Pandemic. While this blog post references our collective experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, it contains useful advice for how to help your community during any period of instability. If you’re looking to lend a hand to those in need, this post will help you get started.
- How Volunteering is Useful for Career Development
- If you’re looking to keep your skills sharp while you job search, we highly suggest pro bono volunteering, which offers opportunities to put concrete professional development on your resume via finite, skills-based projects with nonprofits in need. Check out Idealist, or organizations like Taproot and Catchafire, for pro-bono volunteer opportunities.
- Explore the volunteer opportunities listed on Idealist!
Some other useful resources
- FUSE Corps - This came up during the webinar, so we wanted to be sure to share a link. In their own words, “FUSE is a national nonprofit that partners with local government to help urban communities thrive. We work with cities and counties on a range of issues, including economic and workforce development, healthcare, public safety, climate change, and education.”
- What an Organization’s COVID-19 Response Reveals About its Culture
- Professional Development Trainings for Every Stage of Your Career
- 3 Ways to Stand Out After Submitting Your Application
- Ask Alexis | How Can I Find Remote Opportunities in the Nonprofit Sector
- Got Laid Off? Here's What to Do Now