By: Daniel Krupski, CDC Government/Non-Profit/& Philanthropy Career Peer
Identify Your Interests
Like most jobs, specific steps are necessary in order for someone to successfully find their career fit. Non-profits are no exception. To identify where you want to start your career in non-profit you must first look at what areas interest you the most. Some of the sectors in non-profit to consider are:
- Arts, Culture, and Humanities
- Environment and Animals
- Human Services
- International and Foreign Affairs
- Public or Societal Benefit
- Mutual/Membership Benefit
- Professional/Trade Associations
Expanding Your Exploration
Once you have identified a sector or sectors that interest you, you can begin to explore that area in more depth. The Career Development Center has many resources that can help with this, including the Non-Profit Career Guide, the Occupational Outlook Handbooks in the Resource Library, or Vocational Biographies.
After researching the sector you’re interested you can now try out the job. There are countless ways to get a more realistic feel for what a job in a particular field would be like including informational interviews, job shadowing, and internships. There are many techniques on locating individuals in the field of interest to speak to, but one of the easiest ways is to go on LinkedIn (make an account if you don’t have one already! It will be beneficial in your future career search endeavors) and use the search feature to locate and filter individuals who you can reach out and have an email, phone, or in person conversation with. You can ask them questions about their job and experiences in their career journey. These conversations can be helpful not only for learning about a particular sector, but also for general information about interviewing, changing jobs, and thriving in your position throughout your career.
LinkedIn can also be a very good source for finding internship and (later) post-graduation job opportunities. This site along with places such as Indeed, idealist and others can be awesome resources for finding opportunities during your summer breaks. An additional opportunity to consider is AmeriCorps and being a VISTA volunteer. These are federal government programs that help volunteers tackle critical needs in communities throughout the United States. Volunteers in the program are typically given a stipend to cover living expenses during their tenure in the program, making it an excellent opportunity for college students to get experience and connections in the non-profit sector. To research specific organizations, visit the online resource for non-profit organizations, Guidestar.