The recent Great Recession hit all job seekers, but it might have hit recent college graduates the hardest of all. At the height of the Recession, it was very hard for even the brightest of college grads to get a paid position. Things have improved, however, and now 24% of college grads have a job waiting for them after graduation (this according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers). Despite this, however, things are still hard for graduates. Nonprofit jobs are especially popular amongst this demographic, as they provide an opportunity to make real changes in communities. With all of this in mind, here are are some steps that college students can take to get their first step into the nonprofit sector:
- Look for volunteer or internship opportunities at nonprofits: While a paid position is obviously ideal for post-college jobseekers, any chance you can get to get started in the nonprofit field should be jumped upon. By voluntarily applying to these types of positions, it will show the employers that you are truly dedicated to the cause they champion. And with a little hard work, it is very likely that you will be kept on for a permanent position at the company.
- Go traveling: This might seem like an odd suggestion for somebody looking to get work, but going abroad on your own shows employers that you are capable of working independently. Plus, the knowledge you gain from your travels will help you to be a more well rounded individual, which is very attractive to nonprofit organizations.
- Get involved in local clubs/events: This is especially helpful if you can get a position doing planning or any kind of role that involves organization. This will allow you to gain first hand knowledge of the kind of work you might be doing at a nonprofit. Also, it will allow you to do some valuable networking, which is one of the most important things a recent college graduate can do. Speaking of which….
- Network, network, network: This can’t be stressed enough. While it’s possible to get a job in the nonprofit sector without contacts, it’s extremely difficult without them. Search for nonprofit career fairs on the web, or attend local job meet-ups and events. These are the places you should frequent as often as possible. You might not immediately get the results you want from networking (and networking is most definitely not the most fun thing to do) but with a little patience, you will find that it will be your best path into the nonprofit world.
These are the tips we find the most helpful for college grads. Feel free to share your own ideas as well.