|Editor's Picks Opportunities|
Home > Article
Consider the Nonprofit Sector to Expand Your Employment Options
Too often, people making the transition from for-profits to nonprofits assume that they have nothing to bring to the table but an interest in the nonprofit?s mission. They forget about the important skills that they bring to the table.
At a large national environmental conference, I was presenting a workshop for career changers. After the workshop, a woman approached me and said she was interested in breaking into the environmental nonprofit field, but didn't have any experience. When I inquired as to what she'd been doing, she told me she had been working in public relations for a well-known company for a number of years. As an environmental nonprofit professional at that time, I was shocked that this woman would think she had no skills to bring. Too often, people making the transition from for-profits to nonprofits assume that they have nothing to bring to the table but an interest in the nonprofit?s mission. I tried to dissuade her of this notion. As we spoke, it seemed to dawn on her that her current skill set would be amazingly valuable for a nonprofit organization. That skill coupled with her passion for the environment made her a great candidate for nonprofit work.
Recently, I have been thinking deeply about work in the nonprofit sector. I have taken a position at a technical college where nonprofits are not on the radar screen as employment alternatives. As I try to expand the base of available jobs for graduates, I encourage students to consider the nonprofit sector. Reaction has been mixed. Students seem to share similar concerns: How do a find a job in a nonprofit? Can they pay well? Do I have to be an expert in the issue the nonprofit works on? What can I do at a nonprofit?
For all those considering the nonprofit sector, here are some tips on expanding your job search and breaking into nonprofits:
Find the jobs
2. Let Your Job Point You to an Interest
3. Use the Specialists
Know and be able to sell your transferable and
Transportable skills, are those that can directly move to the new context. This skill set is the same used in both the old position and new position, despite the context. The woman from the example above could say: "I have successfully negotiated media relations, press releases, on-camera work, and print advertisement for a large company." While the subject matter of your organization's mission is different, these same skills would be invaluable for better communicating your mission: "I am confident I can use these skills in an environmental context." Transportable skills could include those in accounting, finance, computer technology, entrepreneurship, Web design, horticulture, human resources, management, public relations, and supervision.
Know what you can get: Salary and beyond
Salary alone should not be the determining factor when considering a nonprofit job offer. A wealth of benefit options may be available to you. Inquire about flextime, telecommuting, bringing your kids in on snow days and casual dress. Find out if the organization offers a 403(b) retirement option -- the nonprofit equivalent of a 401(k), transportation subsidies, maternity/paternity leave, and conference travel funding. Nonprofits know that they may not be able to afford extremely competitive salaries and therefore may be more flexible in their benefit and lifestyle package options.
Expanding your job search to include the nonprofit sector is a smart approach to finding the career of your dreams. Whether your passion leads you to a job or a job leads you to a new passion, nonprofits are viable alternatives to corporate positions. Why not consider changing your career and changing the world at the same time?
Google Web Search
Didn't see what you were looking for?
powered by Google