8 Super Tips to Get a Job at a Non-Profit Organization

Has the humanitarian in you been bugging you lately to leave the profit driven corporate world and do some good?  Unless you are a billionaire like Bill Gates, you would probably have to do your part of good, while working a job.  The good news is that you can combine a job and doing good by working for a non-profit entity.  To give you some inspiration, here is a quote from an article by Kerry Hannon on Forbes, which discussed a survey report by Idelaist.org: “…organizations are planning on hiring more people. Of those who replied, forty-two percent plan to hire new positions and nearly half will fill positions that become vacant. Program or service staff are top of the list. But if you’re a go-getter fundraiser and can whip up creative and diverse funding streams, they want you. Administrative, communications, accounting and finance personnel, and technology experts are on the to-be hired scrolls too.”

Tips for Landing a Non-Profit Job

Know thyself: The first thing you should do is to look inside your soul and decide if this is really what you want to do because non-profit is a different playing field and at least in the beginning there will be more challenges than the rewards.  So, you should do a thorough self-assessment against the job you are pursuing.

Prepare for some sacrifices: While a non-profit job may be more fulfilling because of a sense of purpose, it may not be as rewarding financially.  You can offset the pay difference with some other important perks such as vacation time or flexible work schedule.

Get a taste before diving in: The non-profits have a soft spot for the people who have volunteered in the sector.  So, if you haven’t had a chance to do this, now is the time to find an opportunity to volunteer in your community.  This experience will bring you closer to the soul of the non-profit sector.

Sharpen your leadership skills: Non-profits are particularly interested in people with above average leadership skills and experience.  They need influencers, who can motivate people to get involved and contribute for the cause of the organization.  Since money and perks in the non-profit sector are not as great as elsewhere, strong leaders are needed to keep people focused and motivated.

Do your research: It is not enough to have a burning desire to do good, you need to learn about the playing field. Learn about the target organization in as much detail as possible. You must have a sincere interest in the organization and the causes it works for.

A resume is still the first step in the door: The job hunting process is still essentially the same as the corporate world.  You will need a purpose-built resume and a stellar cover letter that addresses the non-profit hiring managers.  Relate your experience, skills and knowledge of the corporate world to the non-profit sector and show how you will be an asset to the organization.

Work with a specialized recruiter: Your chances will be much better if you are working with an experienced recruiter especially if you are seeking a senior level position.  “So many job seekers spend a lot of time and effort trying to get in front of people who can’t ever help them because they’re not in the deal flow that [the job seeker] is interested in,” said Tom Friel, an experienced and senior non-profit board member.

Non-profit training: While your current skills, experience and knowledge are helpful in finding an opportunity, non-profit sector specific education and training can certainly give you a much needed edge.  It can also help you negotiate a better pay cheque.
If making the world a better place is what you sincerely believe in, getting involved with a non-profit is definitely one of the best ways to pursue your passion.

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