PODCAST: Transitioning into a Nonprofit Career

This post appeared on June 23rd, 2009 as a part of the Career Corner Advice Series

Our Career Transitions team has the pleasure of attending lots of events, giving presentations, and otherwise conversing with professionals looking for meaningful work in the nonprofit sector. Everyone’s experiences are unique, but I do get plenty of frequently-asked questions. I recently sat down with my colleague Jung Fitzpatrick to discuss some of the common answers I often share with experienced professionals ‘sector switching’ into the nonprofit world.

Here are the seven questions we cover in the podcast.

  • What are the job prospects for a senior level sector switcher? Would I need to start at a lower level and work up?
  • I want an upper-level management/leadership role. Where are those jobs?
  • I have [insert exhaustive list of impressive skills] from decades of work in [insert industry]. Why can’t nonprofits see this? or How do I make myself stand-out from the 100’s of resumes organizations may receive for a given position particularly if I don’t have paid experience in the non-profit sector?
  • Generally, for-profit positions earn more money than nonprofit positions. Are non-profits less likely to consider candidates with for-profit experience because they expect that the candidate would have to take a significant paycut and therefore not really consider the position?
  • What may be some red flags in my resume or cover letter if I’m coming from the for-profit sector? How do I address those?
  • What kind of further education (certificate courses, community workshops) can help me improve my candidacy for nonprofit work?
  • Is there any other advice or resources that may be helpful to for-profit professionals hoping to transition into nonprofits?

Click here to listen to the podcast

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


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