Friday, February 06, 2009

6 Ways to Use the Web to Find a Nonprofit Job

Yikes! One of today's New York Times' headlines is, Economy Shed 598,000 Jobs in January. If you're one of the folks looking for a job with a nonprofit right now, here are some ways to use the web to help with your search.

LinkedIn is a professional social network, so it's ripe with job search opportunities. See who in your network knows someone at the organizations you'd like to work for. Ask if they'd introduce you to their contact so you can set up an informational interview. Also, people often share job openings with their LinkedIn network before they post it elsewhere. Check out Guy Kawasaki's Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job for more ideas.

Like LinkedIn, you can search for friends who work for, or know someone who works for, an organization that interests you. In her post, Using Social Media to Launch a Job Search, on The Life, Kathy Dodd says she is using Facebook Ads to promote herself as a DC Area marketing expert. In her post, Using Social Media for a Job Search, Rachel Levy says she posts status updates about her job search to remind her Facebook friends she is still looking.

According to the Wall Street Journal article, Twitter Yourself a Job, Alexa Scordato sent out a message to her Twitter followers saying that she was looking for an entry level social media job in Boston. Within two weeks she had a job. I'm sure that isn't the norm, but it can't hurt to ask, right? You might also want to use Twollo, an application that allows you to find and auto-follow people on Twitter who are writing about the issues that interest you (Thanks @engagejoe for the Twollo tip).

Find Networking Events and Conference
E-intros and virtual handshakes are great, but nothing beats making connections face-to-face. Make a commitment to go to at least one live event each week and network. Search for event listings on Meetup, Upcoming, Idealist, Craigslist, Facebook, and Eventful. You should also subscribe to list servs like Progressive Exchange and YNPN (Young Nonprofit Professionals Network), and search on Google Groups and Yahoo Groups for list servs related to the work you want to do. Also, be sure to sign up for newsletters of organizations you'd like to work for, and go to their public events. If you can't afford to attend an event or conference, see if they'll let you volunteer in exchange for a reduced fee.

Find Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteering for a nonprofit is not only a chance to make a connection with a group you would eventually like to work for, it can also teach you new skills, and help you determine if working for a nonprofit is a fit for you. It can also provide stress relief during your job search by placing focus away from yourself, and onto someone else. You can search for volunteer opportunities on VolunteerMatch, Idealist, Social Actions, Network for Good, 1-800,, Volunteer Solutions, and GuideStar. You can also look on an organization's site, or contact them directly for information about volunteer opportunities.

The post, 7 Secrets to Getting Your Next Job Using Social Media, on Mashable suggests creating a video resume. I've never heard of that, have you? According to the post's author, Dan Schawbel, that is one of the benefits, "The key with a video resume is that very few people have actually created one, so they serve as a differentiator in the recruiting process." If you've created one, share the link below. I'd love to see an example of a successful one.

What suggestions do you have for how people can use the web to find a nonprofit job?

Cross-posted from BlogHer. Britt Bravo is a Big Vision Consultant.

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  1. Anonymous4:29 PM

    Hey Britt,

    You've never heard of the infamous Alex Vayner video resume of 2006? This is a guy who showed himself ballroom dancing and lifting weights...seriously.

    It was so laughable that the banks he applied to on Wall Street sent it around as a joke and it ended up receiving millions of views on YouTube. Legal settlements must've forced YT to take it down.

    Interesting idea about the video, but tread carefully.

  2. Hi Britt,
    Great and timely post. I've definitely reached out to fellow Twitters who needed support after losing a job, met up for coffee with some, and forwarded a few resumes as a result. In that sense, Twitter has provided a way to connect on a basic human level despite the difficult circumstances.

    The video resume request for is bound to change the course of CVs as we know them. Sign of the times!

    Have a great weekend.

  3. Anonymous5:23 AM

    Hey Britt ~

    Another great post! This post is a keeper as a resource to share and refer to when needed... So many folks have already lost jobs or a living with the fear of it happening in this economy.

    To attempt a positive spin on those lost jobs, I'd like to think some people might consider using their business talents in a manner more closely aligned with their values and sense of purpose by finding a new career in a mission-driven organization ~ whether nonprofit, social enterprise, or ethically-driven for profit.

    For some top level mission-driven jobs, may I suggest:

    Here's a quote from their site:

    Commongood Careers is dedicated to helping today's most effective social entrepreneurs hire the best talent. Founded by nonprofit professionals, Commongood Careers offers personalized, engaged services to jobseekers and organizations throughout the hiring process, as well as access to a wealth of knowledge about careers in the social sector...

    Keep up the great work, Britt!

    Nancy Gallant
    Time Well Spent

  4. Anonymous4:30 PM

    The best online non-profit job and career resource I know about is If you've never heard of it you should check it out!

  5. Elliot - I agree, you have to be careful about the video image you put out there, but I would imagine for some people, it would help thems sell themselves better than the written word could. For others, not so much . . .

    Qui, Someone just sent me that island reef job description and said my husband and I should apply!

    Nancy and Brandy, thanks for sharing the links to Common Good Careers and Idealist with folks. Both are resources job seekers should know about.

  6. Anonymous10:32 AM

    Thanks for mentioning Idealist, Britt, and thanks to Brandy Urban for the shout-out!

    I just heard about a Chronicle of Philanthropy "conversation" to be held tomorrow about finding a nonprofit job during the recession:

    Also, folks might be interested in a couple of recent "Career Corner" posts. There's one called "The Nonprofit Job Search Just Got Tougher," one about the importance of being intentional during your nonprofit career search, and one called "What the Economic Downturn Means for Nonprofits":

    If anyone has a related topic they'd like us to cover, feel free to email julia at idealist dot org and I'll pass your ideas along to Meg and Steve.

    Thanks again!

  7. Thanks for the additional resources, Julia!

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