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  • Writer's pictureNonprofit Learning Lab

Seven Tips on Finding Your Nonprofit Dream Job

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Finding a nonprofit job that aligns with your experience and passions is not easy. It takes a lot of searching, applications, interviews and, most of all, patience. There are a few things you can do to make the process easier, though. To learn more, check out our seven tips on finding your nonprofit dream job.

1. Keep an eye on nonprofit job boards.

There are lots of nonprofit job boards to help you find your dream job. First, check to see if your state or region has a nonprofit job board. The Colorado Nonprofit Association, for example, has a job board that features hundreds of listings from across the state. There are also plenty of national nonprofit job boards, including our own Nonprofit Job Board and Job Board Hub. Idealist, Foundation List, Impact Opportunity, and Work for Good are other great options to help with your job search.

2. Arrange informational interviews.

It can be hard to find the right “fit” with an employer. To help expedite the process, find three to four organizations where you want to work. Next, look at staff bios or check their LinkedIn to see if you know anyone at the organization. Try to arrange an informational interview where you meet with someone from the organization to learn more about the work they are doing. An informational interview isn’t asking for a job; it is about learning the work the organization does, connecting with a key employee and sharing how you may have alignment with the organization. An informational interview could be as simple as a short coffee meeting or even a 15 minute phone call.

3. Make your cover letter brief and specific.

Recruiters don’t want your life story. They want to know (briefly) who you are, why you want the job, and what your relevant experience is. Incorporate examples from your career that specifically relate to the job’s responsibilities and qualifications. And please, don’t use a stock cover letter! Tailor your cover letter to each job so that employers can see that you put thought and effort into your application.

4. Do your homework before the interview.

Once you have an interview date, it’s time to do some research. Review the organization’s website. What programs and services do they offer? Who do they serve? How do you see yourself fitting into the organization, and what can you bring to the table? Employers want to know that you are thorough, prepared and excited about the mission, so go into the interview armed with as much organizational knowledge as possible.

5. Mind the details.

Don’t let a minor detail catch you off guard. Know when the interview is, with whom you will be speaking and what you will wear. If it’s in person, know where to park your vehicle, and don’t forget to calculate traffic into your drive time. If it’s virtual, download and test the video platform in advance. Once logistics are worked out, search for potential interview questions and recruit a friend to help you practice. With enough preparation, you can relax during the interview and just be yourself!

6. Follow up.

Shortly after your interview, email the person or team to thank them for their time and let them know that you enjoyed the conversation. Something as simple as a quick follow-up email can show that you are professional, thorough and interested.

7. Be resilient.

Finding a nonprofit job that aligns with your experience and passions is not easy. You will likely go through numerous rounds of applications and interviews, so don’t take it personally if you don’t get the first or second (or tenth) job that you apply for. Each application and interview is good practice for the next, so keep a positive mindset and stay focused on your goal.

We hope you enjoyed our seven tips on finding your nonprofit dream job! Are you a nonprofit professional looking for your next career opportunity? Check out our new nonprofit job board! Is your nonprofit hiring? Members post job listings for free, so join today and start posting. Or, book a meeting with our membership team to learn more.

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