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Profit is in the Pocket of the Beholder

The savvy job seeker can earn enormous profits from non-profit organizations

➔ Most non-profit organizations have a cause-related mission. It could health oriented; it could be tied to some social initiative, or education – something. For the job seeker, however, non-profit organizations can play a very different role – all while staying true to their respective missions.

What’s in it for you?

As a job seeker, it’s important to stay active professionally. When you cross paths with someone who may aid your job search or even a job interviewer, they may ask “What are you doing now?” Sure, looking for a job can be a full-time job, but performing some job-related functions shows initiative and a desire to “keep busy” as well as a desire to help your community.

In addition, if you’re looking to upgrade your skills – maybe it’s becoming familiar with a newer version of something you were doing at your last job (i.e. software); maybe it’s tackling something completely new that you’ve never done before – regardless, you could be gaining valuable experience with that task. And this wouldn’t be classroom experience with theoretical applications. This is how it’s done in the real world. Real world experience will trump the classroom most anytime.

But, wait. There’s more.

Being on the job as it were, you’re going to be interacting with a variety of different people. First, there are the people from the non-profit, any of whom may be an asset. Any of their spouses, neighbors, or extended family also could be a contact or lead to a new position. Second, you may interact with vendors for the organization who may have similar contacts. Third, the group will most likely have some governing body such as a board of directors who are also all potential contacts.

Two words to wise need to be noted.

First, you’re still a volunteer. You get to call the shots as to your availability. If you can only work Monday and Friday afternoons, then that’s when you’re available. Non-profit groups can be like quicksand. If you permit them, they’ll keep sucking you in deeper and deeper until you become a full-time, 40-hour per week presence. Learn how to say, “No!” There may be temporary exceptions – such as a group that is preparing for a major event. But that’s exactly what those are: exceptions.

Second, especially if you’re looking to the non-profit to improve or upgrade your skills, don’t get pigeon-holed into doing busy work – stuffing envelopes and the like. That’s not why you’re there.

Last, but not least, non-profit organizations are potential employers. You’ll probably earn less, but the job may appeal to you in a myriad of other ways. Depending on your circumstances, it could be an ideal fit.


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