Do you have a vision of a better world? If so, then one of the best ways to do something towards that is to join a not for profit. Of course, the big problem is that that is a lot easier to say than do.
How do you get one of those not for profit jobs? Is it about knowing the right people? Well, that certainly helps. Fortunately, there are other ways. Even better, you can get to know the people that can connect you even if you have no idea who they are yet. So let’s explore a few different options, shall we?
Find the not for profits that align with your views
Step one is to find the companies that most closely match what you believe and want to do in this world. Doesn’t that limit my opportunities? I hear some of you ask. You might think so, but it’s quite the opposite. For one thing, you can only work for one company at a time. For another, when you’re very passionate about the subject, that will show.
And that will make all the difference, as these types of companies are going to choose the people that are the most passionate about the subject, so that they know they’re going to put in the effort necessary to succeed.
So, take a piece of paper or spreadsheet and make a column for every attribute that’s important to you. Maybe they have to work with children or with animals. Perhaps they need to be religious or be committed to a certain cause. Perhaps the not for profit has to be close to where you live? Then find the not for profits that are close and rate them on those attributes. From there you’ll have an idea which suits you best.
The easiest way to get in is to start volunteering there, with the hopes of standing out enough to get offered a job. This really is a great way to get your foot in the door, as when a position does open up and you’ve demonstrated good work ethics so far, they’ll certainly consider you. After all, everybody prefers the devil they know, right? Now if you also happen to be an angel, then what can possibly go wrong?
Can’t volunteer with the group that you like best or in a position where you feel you can do the most? Don’t let that hold you back. Still, go for it. Volunteering at other places shows your commitment and can still make all the difference when you apply.
Your CV still matters
In fact, it might matter more in not for profits. After all, these groups are frequently understaffed and overworked. That means that the person reviewing your application is busy and might not even have a background in HR.
To help them along, make sure that your CV is pretty close to perfect and that your CV spells out very clearly why you’re so passionate about joining them and what you can bring to the table that they really need.
Note that simply because not for profits aren’t about profits doesn’t mean they’re not professional. They are. In fact, they can be harder and require more discipline than for profit companies. For that reason, make sure your CV is perfect and without mistakes – this is particularly relevant to make yours stand out, so you’ll have a serious leg up on the competition.
Be open to project work
Another great strategy is to look out for freelance opportunities and projects that they’ve got going on. Yes, you want a full-time position, but that can still happen. After all, once people know you can work well, then they might offer you more projects. This is even more likely if you announce that you’re open to that kind of arrangement.
Even if that’s not the case, sometimes working for them long-term as a freelancer can be just as rewarding. And of course, you’ll get to meet far more people by being in the company than if you’re on the outside, trying to get in.
And that matters.
Get to know the circle
Volunteering has another advantage and that is that once you start doing it, you’ll meet people who know people and so on. You can then start building a network which you can use to look for both paid and voluntary work.
Of course, if you can get into that circle without volunteering, then go for it. There are numerous forums online that you can join. A good ideas is to sign up to CharityConnect to join the sector’s largest network, where you can connect with people who are passionate about what they do. So sign up and connect with likeminded individuals, as well as influential people in the sector.
If you find the right one, then you can demonstrate your interest and your expertise there and hopefully connect with people who can help in your career.
This is really a great strategy, as the nonprofit world is really quite small. That means that everybody knows everybody. Of course, what that also means is that everybody knows everything about everybody. So you should always be on your best behavior.
Not for profits are a little different from the corporate world, but not as different as some people seem to believe. You can still earn a good salary. The strategies that you use to apply to other places still hold. The only difference is that you might find this kind of work far more meaningful than working for profit.
For that reason, don’t hold back. Give the nonprofit sector a serious push. After all, if it doesn’t work, then you haven’t lost anything, while if it does you get to live a life where you contribute. If only we’d all do that. How much better the world this would be (and how much happier we’d be beside!).
So if you’re interested in finding a career where you really can make a difference then head on over to CharityJob for amazing paid and volunteer positions.
(Janet Anthony is a content editor at mastergrades she mostly writes about entrepreneurship, career advice, and self-development.)