Breaking into a Career in the Nonprofit World

This post originally appeared on November 2nd, 2009 as part of the Career Corner Advice Series. Also posted as part of Nonprofit Career Month, featuring the diversity of career opportunities in the nonprofit sector.

My colleague Meg Busse and I joined Rosetta Thurman to answer questions during a Chronicle of Philanthropy live discussion. Our audience came from a variety of backgrounds and ages, and their excellent, timely questions had all of us in a flurry of typing. Their questions included:

  • I’m seen as overqualified and not having enough nonprofit experience. How can I better present myself to get past these perceptions?
  • What are your best strategies for conducting a job search from a different location?
  • I don’t know how to use my current job to position myself for a future career in development. How else can I build that skill set?
  • I’m currently unemployed with a corporate background in customer relations. How can I move over to the nonprofit sector? What skill sets are transferrable?
  • If you are fortunate enough to land an entry-level job in the nonprofit sector, what steps can you take to make it a career?
  • Since many applicants have volunteer experience, leadership skills, advanced degrees, etc., what is the best way for young people just entering the nonproit sector to stand out from the competition?

Between the three of us, we tried to provide varied perspectives and a range of resources to help give the participants some concrete next steps. It was also great to have a venue to answer many of the common questions that we hear. To read the transcript of the discussion, click here. The transcript will direct you to a variety of resources for aspiring (as well as current) nonprofit professionals.

This entry is by Steven Joiner, Director of the Career Transitions Program and author of The Idealist Guide to Nonprofit Careers for Sector Switchers.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s