Professional Development is for Nonprofit Job Seekers Too

*Image from the amazing Northern Sun catalog

To put it mildly, this economy stinks. Many recent college grads or long-term nonprofit professionals are looking for work. From organizational downsizing, to cuts in grant funding, to hiring freezes, it is tough to get your foot in the door in any field. It's even hard when you are trying to do good for a living. Here are some tips to shorten your job search:

  • Have fresh eyes look at your resume- If you have sent your resume to 40 organizations and aren't getting an interview, it's time to have someone else take a look. Possiblities are friends, mentors, or organizations that have employment counselors can all be helpful.You want to put your expertise in the best possible light and often help is needed to do this.
  • Make a social media splash- It is critical to have an updated social media presence during your job search because possible employers will be Googling you. Setting up a LinkedIn profile is critical and cleaning up any questionable Facebook content helps too.
  • Drink a lot of coffee- Informational interviews are critical where you are conducting a job search. Do research on your "dream" organizations and set up coffee with their Executive Director or someone who is doing a job you would like to do. Spend 80% of the time listening and 20% asking questions and sharing your background. Learn about the organization and ask who else you should talk to in their network. Leave them with a copy of your resume and a good impression of you. 
  • Build your skills- During your job search volunteer to build your skill base. If you want to be an event coordinator for that great mentoring program, volunteer to help them plan their next big event. You'll sharpen your skillset and build new relationships.
  • Get a side hustle- Having an extra way to earn income is critical while your are working full time and especially when you are looking for work. Side hustles allow you to strengthen a skill set (contract grantwriting) or explore another side of yourself (yoga class anyone?), while you are bringing in extra financial resources. Other places where you can identify some side work are or through our network.
What other advice would you give to nonprofit job seekers?