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Exploring Non-Profit Careers - My Day At Opportunity Knocks

Every year I volunteer to do career coaching and resume review at the annual Opportunity Knocks career fair. It is a great opportunity to meet smart and talented professionals looking for non-profit careers. The people that I meet quite often are coming from for profit backgrounds and have reached a point in their career where they are looking for work that provides a greater purpose.

The advice that I provide them is:

  • Learn how nonprofits are structured and develop your story on where you will fit in and what value you can provide.
  • Get as much volunteer and nonprofit experience as you can while in the for profit space. This experience will demonstrate that you have a heart to serve and will also give you insight into how non-profits operate.
  • Set modest goals for how you would like to enter a nonprofit - especially if you are a career game changer. I often times see talented for profit professionals mistakenly assume that their for profit expertise will automatically position them for senior leadership within a non-profit. This is not necessarily the case.
  • Narrow down the list of causes that you believe in so that you have a more targeted approach to identifying what are the best non-profits for you. For example, my love of tennis made it very easy for me to become involved with Special Pops Tennis -  nonprofit targeted to the adaptive needs community.

Non-profit careers can be very rewarding and provide you with the opportunity to give back. I would encourage anyone who is interested to please consider the advice provided.