Smart Tips to keep in Mind for a Smooth Shifting to a Non-Profit Job

Job Exam

Today, professionals are way too different from those of the yesteryear people who would spend their whole life at the same job.  Now, it is more about finding the perfect fit when it comes to one’s career. And if that requires breaking the barrier of the conventional corporate job, it is fairly accepted. Another fact that also affects the millennia’s decision regarding choosing a job is the values that the companies bear and how they stick by it.

While it is all about making profits in the corporate world, it is more about the greater good than personal gains in the non-profit organizations. Thus, more and more people are getting attracted towards this sector.

Just like the corporate sector, non-profit jobs are also in the rise.

In the year 2010, 9.2% of America’s total salaries and wages came from nonprofits.

In the period between 2003 and 2013, non-profit organizations surpassed the government and businesses in terms of percentage growth in employment.

If you are also thinking about transferring to the non-profit side from the dog-eat-dog corporate side, wait. You cannot take this big step without the right preparation.

Some tips are given below that will help you to cope up with the changes that you will be facing with the change from the for-profit corporate world to the non-profit world:

1. Learn and understand the changes you will face

It is going to be a big leap for you to leave your corporate job and get into a non-profit one.  If you go there with the wrong impression and expectations, you are going to be thoroughly disappointed. It will also become difficult for you to survive there.  Hence, you must know beforehand what you will be facing. For starter, your salary will most probably be lesser than it was before. Non-profits usually run on a fixed, rather low budget. You will be put under a lot of pressure for either making money or saving money. The salary will be low but sufficient. You must be willing to look at how content you will be by working here, as a compensation for working for a lower wage. While doing this, you should also consider your financial situation and analyze if you can afford a job which pays less.

2. Know why you want to get a job at a non-profit organization

Find out exactly why you decided to shift to the non-profit world. Is it because you love to do something good for the society, or for the animals, or for nature? You can consider the following to know your motivation behind the desire for change: The area of the non-profit world you would like to work for, your preference for the back office or the direct program work, the things you will get from the non-profit sector, your values which you can stand by better in this world, your skills that you can better apply in the non-profit world, etc. By knowing your reason for this change, you will have a goal which will let you stay motivated at work.

3. Start small

According to Neil Gluckin, a corporate employee turned non-profit worker, one should start with a project that is short-term yet, very important. This will help you to gain an insight into how things work at a non-profit and will also add that experience in your CV. This will help in convincing the HR to give you the job. Doing this will also showcase that you are committed and dedicated to making this transition.

4. Build networks

Another tip that you can use for shifting to the non-profit sector is to try and create valuable networks. You can do this by talking to your acquaintances and request them to refer you. Or you can use an effective platform like the LinkedIn to find out people who work at a non-profit organization or run one. These are great ways to learn about how everything works at a non-profit and also learn from the experience of the person. You can gather the knowledge about how they made it work for themselves in this sector, what is the secret to achieving success here, and how to make the transition from the corporate to the non-profit world. Try to hold informational interviews with these people to know about the plausible opportunities that are there in the full-time jobs or volunteerism in the non-profit sector. If you have already decided which organization you will be working for, you should try to connect with people from that place. This way, you can get an idea about the work culture there, people in the important posts, and also about the employer.

5. Prepare your CV

Make your CV more appropriate for a non-profit job. You might already know that for different jobs, you have to create your CV in different ways. You should include your experience of working in the corporate world in a way, so that the recruiter can understand its relevance and importance in the non-profit job. For example, if you have worked as a volunteer for any of your previous companies, you can highlight it in your portfolio. This will make you look like a good candidate for the job. Apart from this, you should also portray some specific skills that are appropriate for the non-profit work. Additionally, one crucial thing you must do is to show that you are sincerely concerned about the issues that the non-profit organization works for. Thus, you must include in your cover letter why did you decide to change from the corporate to the non-profit and why do you care for the work that the non-profit agency is linked with. When you include this point in your CV, you should expect to get similar questions asked in your interview.

6. Be ready to start from the scratch

If you are shifting to the non-profit from the for-profit sector, you may need to start from an entry-level position. You will also have to show that you are open to starting all over again, in order to get the job. From the starting days, you will have to create a mutual agreement with your employer that you are willing to give your inputs in the organization in future as well, and, that you are looking forward to getting promotions or advances within a specific period of time. However, you should not talk about future promotions and opportunities in the very first interview. You should keep it for the negotiating part of the hiring process.

7. Prepare yourself for working under someone with lesser experience

When you are changing sector, you should be ready for working under or report to someone who is less experienced or skilled. But, you must not disrespect, or refuse to follow his/her orders to work. Try to be effective at managing things by appreciating the value of the mentoring provided by those “junior” to you. Along with this, you should also understand that the way you used to approach a task in the corporate world might not be appropriate in this sector at times. You must give enough time to get a grip on how things are dealt with. At a non-profit job, you are expected to invest your time after learning something, and this way, you will also be able to make your colleagues trust in you.

8. Get rid of the misconceptions you have regarding the non-profits

If you have the following misconceptions about the non-profit sector, it’s time to get rid of them:

  • Nonprofits hire anyone because it is hard to find candidates who are willing to work for them.
  • Every non-profit employee is saint-like, and they are only concerned about the greater good, instead of their personal gains.
  • Every non-profit is more or less the same
  • There is enough security in working for a non-profit
  • There is no challenge in a non-profit job.

9. Have a good understanding of what needs you will have to fulfill

Before applying for any job, you should understand what will be expected from you.  For that, you have to do a lot of research. You must know about the various posts that are available in a non-profit organization. You need to read many job descriptions, LinkedIn profiles, and learn about the various organizations that are there in the non-profit world. You can also look for the degrees that are common in this sector. The role that the charities play in our community is immense. And slowly but, steadily, people see this sector as an area for getting jobs that share the same value. Hence, you can expect certain challenges and little competition in this sector as well. Thus, you must be prepared at all levels to make the transition as smooth as possible.

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