As a society, we are growing more and more aware of the impacts our actions have on the lives of others and on the planet. This is why millennials’ purchasing decisions are largely driven not only by price and quality, but also their consciences.

For the same reasons, more and more people are looking to start careers in the nonprofit sector. Doing great work that has the potential for significant social impact is both generous and rewarding.

If you’re one of those people looking to break into the nonprofit world, check out these five tips on how to find a job in the sector:

1. Understand Why You Want to Work in the Nonprofit Sector and Learn to Articulate Those Reasons

Many people want to work for nonprofit organizations, but when asked why, they offer some generic explanation like, “I want to help people.” Unfortunately, this tells the hiring manager absolutely nothing.

You can help yourself by focusing on more detailed answers. Is there a particular population you want to help? Do you have a personal story that drives your passion? Do you think you can help people who are being underserved? If you think through the answers to these questions, then you’ll be able to make a more convincing case for your passion. Instead of focusing on your want, focus on who you can help and why you want to help them.

2. Demonstrate the Value You Can Bring to the NonProfit

Notprofit organizations need people with established skills that can be translated to meet their  needs. If your skill set specifically includes the following, you have a great chance at landing a nonprofit job:

- Leading teams

- Recruiting and hiring

- Planning events

- Creative writing

- Accounting and recordkeeping

- Copywriting

- Navigating government regulations and creating related policies

- Sales and marketing

These skills translate very well into the situations faced by many nonprofit organizations.

3. Research the Needs of the Organizations You Would Like to Work For

Hands In you sit down for an interview, your grasp of the specifics matters most. Remember that most of the nonprofit organizations out there currently face shrinking budgets. This means they have little time and few resources for getting new hires up to speed. It also means that you are more likely to get the job if you understand the challenges the company faces and what its future goals are. Most importantly, if you come to the interview with some relevant ideas that are ready to go, you will stand a better chance of winning the interview over to your side.

4. Tailor Your Resume and Cover Letter 

If you send out the same resume and cover letter to each HR director and recruiter, you are doing yourself a disservice. This is a bad practice no matter where you are applying, but it’s especially detrimental when you’re vying for nonprofit jobs.

Your resume and cover letter are opportunities to highlight your skills and education and communicate your passion for the work you would like to be doing. That passion matters a lot when it comes to nonprofit work (see tip No. 1).

If you take only one thing away from this piece, it should be the importance of writing a personalized cover letter to be included with each application that you submit.

5. Establish Ties to the Nonprofit Sector Outside of Your Work

Volunteering is a great way to give back, and nonprofit organizations rely on the work of volunteers. If you give your time to help others, that’s truly a wonderful thing.

But simple volunteering alone is not enough to land you a job at a nonprofit. To do that, you must establish an ongoing relationship with target nonprofits. That means taking your volunteering efforts to the next level. Find a volunteering position that requires you to be present for a set number of hours every week – not just a few one-off gigs. Take on roles that require leadership abilities, organizational skills, and people management.

Similarly, if you are looking for an executive-level position, you should try getting yourself onto the board of a nonprofit you’re interested in.

Looking for work in the nonprofit sector carries its own unique set of challenges. However, if you make a plan and follow it, you’ll position yourself to land a meaningful and fulfilling nonprofit gig.

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