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Home  > Article

Tools of the Trade

By Erdin Beshimov

One of the hardest things about job-hunting is finding reliable sources of information on your desired career. Check out this handy list.

Career Opportunities in the Nonprofit Sector (Career Opportunities Series)

Publisher: Checkmark Books (April 2006)

Author(s): Jennifer Bobrow Burns

Price: $13.45 on Amazon

What it is: A guide to careers in the nonprofit sector. 

Where it's at: Bookstores, libraries, the Internet.

Benefits:  The book offers a useful overview of the entire nonprofit sector, covering such areas as fund-raising, philanthropy, health and science, advocacy, arts and culture, education, conservation, communications, management, and community development.  The book does a good job of explaining the types of jobs out there as well as how to break in. 

Drawbacks: The key strength of this book can equally be its drawback.  As far as its content goes the book is most useful for those in the early stages of exploring.  As such, readers looking for detailed career information on a specific nonprofit practice would not be best served by this particular edition.    

Careers for Good Samaritans and Other Humanitarian Types, 3rd edition (Careers for You Series)

Publisher: McGraw-Hill

Author(s): Marjorie Eberts and Margaret Gisler

Price: $11.16 on Amazon

What is it: A guide for finding career that matches your personality.

Where it's at: Bookstores, libraries, the Internet.

Benefits: The great thing about this book is that looks at jobs in a broad range of settings, from office desk to the outdoors.  This book gives a good overview of what jobs fit with what educational qualifications and how to compete for highly-desired positions.  Most importantly, the book offers tips on how to transform your favorite hobbies into valuable skills.

Drawbacks: None! This is a great book and it will help you to find a way to apply your passion.

Search: Winning Strategies to Get Your Next Job in the Nonprofit Sector

Publisher: Piemonte Press (February 2004)

Author(s): Larry Slesinger

Price: $11.53 on Amazon

What is it: A book focused on helping you get the job you want.

Where it's at: Bookstores, libraries, the Internet.

Benefits:  The book wants you to succeed in landing a leadership position at a nonprofit, from organizing your job search to acing the interview.  The book methodically goes through each separate step of the process. 

Drawback: If you already have experience of working in nonprofits, then you probably know much of the stuff presented in the book.  However, if you're looking to switch to the nonprofit world from another sector, it'll be a good read.

Making a Living While Making A Difference, 2nd edition

Publisher: New Society Publishers (September 1999)

Author(s): Melissa Everett

Price: $13.10 on Amazon

What is it: A guide to developing careers around social values.

Where it's at: Bookstores, libraries, the Internet.

Benefits: As opposed to traditional career guides that stress specific skills and educational qualifications, Melissa Everett puts personal, social, and environmental values at the center of career development.  The book engages with self-assessment and visualization exercises that pave the way for determining one's personal area of interest and commitment. 

Drawbacks:  This book shows great ways to incorporate meaning and values into your career, and if you're looking exactly for such an advice, there're just no downsides to looking at it. 


What is it: A website with all kinds of jobs and resources for the non-profit industry.

Where it's at:

Benefits: If you want a non-profit job, sign up for Idealist emails.  Non-profits believe in this site and put their jobs on it.  In 2007, Idealist started fostering community start-up meetings all over the country, which is a great way to meet (and network with) activists in your area.

Drawbacks:  So many people apply for each Idealist job that the site feels saturated, and you may end up wondering why so many seemingly entry-level positions require a master's degree.

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