How to Switch from a Corporate to a Nonprofit Career
Have you been working in a traditional career for a while, but thinking about transitioning to a nonprofit job? You’re not alone – there’s been a noticeable increase in the amount of nonprofit organizations in the United States, according to a report by the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies. They found that, as of 2015, nonprofits have the third largest workforce in the country, just behind retail trade and manufacturing industries.
Why have more people been drawn to the nonprofit sector in recent years? It seems that many are questioning whether their current professions truly matter to them, and if they’re making a difference in the world while also earning a living. So before making the leap, ask yourself why you may want to work for a nonprofit. And if you believe that this is the best next step for you, here are a few tips to smoothly transition out of the corporate world.
Do Your Research.
There are a lot of helpful online resources that provide guidance on working for a nonprofit. A couple of the websites we suggest checking out are Encore and Idealist, both of which feature opportunities for job seekers looking to work for an organization that contributes to the greater good. The Foundation Center is another great resource that offers information about nonprofits. It’s important to recognize the differences between nonprofit and corporate roles so you can show potential employers that you understand what you’re getting into. A nonprofit position can be just as stressful as your current one, it’s just a different kind of stress.
Decide Which Direction You Want to Go.
If you personally don’t know anyone working for a nonprofit and want more insight, consider checking out local meetups in your area. Meetup is a great online resource for learning more about nearby groups and events you can join. Volunteering for local charities is another activity you can do to not only add to your work experience, but to also help you decide what type of nonprofit organization you’re interested in working for. Volunteering is the best way to tell you firsthand if you’re ready to make that change from a corporate career.
Emphasize Your Nonprofit Experience.
Before leaving your corporate position, review your stills and see how you can translate them into the nonprofit world. For example, nonprofits typically rely on input from a variety of stakeholders and decisions are often made by consensus. With that in mind, show potential employers your experience collaborating with multiple teams and decision making. Nonprofit employees also wear many hats and continue to teach themselves new skills, so highlighting strengths in creativity, flexibility and innovation during the job searching process is beneficial. Much like a corporation, nonprofits also experience different stages – start-up, growth, maturity and turnaround. By effectively translating your corporate skills to show leadership and cultural understanding, you’ll have a greater chance of gaining the attention of potential employers.
Are you ready to move into a nonprofit position? Our career coaches would love to help you make that transition a smooth one! Contact us and we’ll provide you with the resources for finding the right job, writing a powerful resume, and nailing that interview. We also have a new ebook that can help you get a jump on your job search: How to Get UnUnEmployed: Fill That Calendar! 22 Daily Step-By-Step Ways and Daily Motivators to Kickstart Your Career and Find a Job in Under 6 Weeks (An Interactive Guide).