It took me longer than I thought it would to discover my passion and career interests. Of course, I know that I will grow and change, but as I approached graduation and prepared to enter the workforce, I needed a focus. Fortunately, after four years of undergrad, two years of grad school, plus several internships and volunteer experiences, I realized that I wanted to make things better for low-income communities by contributing my research and writing skills to organizations that provided social services. So during my last year of grad school in 2011, I set out to find a job in the nonprofit sector that would allow me to put my passion into practice.
In searching for my first full-time nonprofit job after years of school, volunteering, and interning, I learned a lot about myself and the job-search process. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you are looking for your first nonprofit gig.
Volunteering is valuable
And not just for the hiring managers (although they certainly value volunteer experience in potential employees) but also for my own growth. It was through volunteering with College Mentors for Kids while in college that I became interested in working in the nonprofit sector. College Mentors for Kids is an after-school program that brings at-risk elementary school kids to a local college campus, where college students help them with reading and share insights about the college experience. As a volunteer in this program, I loved seeing the kids’ curiosity and excitement when reading or learning about college. After that experience, I started thinking about pursuing a career, where I could make a difference in the lives of others, leading me to explore nonprofits.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor