get started: Existing resources and timelines
The motivating factor for Second Day is that finding high-potential jobs is really hard. School career offices often have limited resources and very few organizations recruit on campus. Stigmas surround nonprofit careers: fears around salary, exit opportunities, or job responsibilities. Frankly, there are many organizations where this is true. Yet, there are also incredible organizations out there which provide a base for your career while also giving you the opportunity to work on issues that you care about. Our goal at Second Day is to help you find those jobs. We use many of these sites as we try to collect the best possible jobs for you, but if you are feeling eager to do your own search, below are the best resources we’ve found for searching for great nonprofit jobs:
Online resources to start (apart from us, obviously)
Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and LinkedIn: These massive job aggregators provide a great opportunity to look for new jobs by location or job type. However, using this as a primary tool can lead to burn-out, as these sites are filled with many lower quality or lower yield positions
Idealist- Idealist is also a large job aggregator, but only focuses on nonprofit jobs. It is a great resource because of the wide variety of postings and filters available, but anyone can post any job on the platform
80,000 hours - the job of organizations involved in the Effective Altruism movement. We highly recommend taking a look at this job board, but the jobs represent a limited variety of roles and types of impact-organizations
YNPN - many cities have a local chapter and subscribing to their email list is a great way to here about new positions being offered as soon as they are offered. It also offers a chance for a warmer lead than applying to a job on a traditional job board
Social Enterprise Jobs Google group (email@example.com) is a free digest you can subscribe too where people post social impact jobs - both for-profit and non-profit.
There are dozens of other job boards to look at, although the repetition across platforms leads to strongly diminishing returns.
nonprofit hiring cycles
Because most social impact organizations don’t spend money on recruiting, it can be unclear when exactly the best time to apply for jobs is. While there are many exceptions, the two most busy times of the year for nonprofit hiring is:
At the beginning of the fiscal year. During the annual budgeting process, many organizations reassess their resourcing for the coming year and department heads are authorized to make new hires. However, not every organization does this in December! Many organizations have fiscal years that are different from the calendar year. If you go to their website or google “(organization name) Financials” you should be able to find out their fiscal year. The budget process is typically, 1-2 months before the end of the fiscal year, so that is the perfect window to reach out to the organization.Most people don’t do this kind of diligence, so taking the next step and even bringing it up in informational interviews could be a huge asset.
In late spring and early summer. Many of the jobs you are looking at are like associate type positions, where many people leave for grad school. That means that the organizations typically start looking for a replacement in the early summer. Perfect timing for the end of senior year!
For every job that is secured via a cold application, 13 are secured via networking or warm leads. Many organizations never even formally post a job online. That’s why we believe networking is so critical to landing the right type of job. If you are graduating in the spring, a typical job search would follow this timing:
November-March: develop a list of target organizations and types of roles that you want. See (hyperlink) for more detail on this process. Reach out to people at these organizations to learn more about their work and express your interest
March-May--time to apply! Although some applications are open beforehand, most organizations won’t post jobs until now. Start sending in applications, following up with people you’ve been networking with and find a great job!
June-August--keep going! It can be easy to give up hope, but don’t do it! However, at this point, it’s also a good idea to expand the types of roles/organizations you may want to consider.
social impact jobs with with advanced hiring cycles
The vast majority of social impact jobs only hire a few weeks or months before they need the person. However, there are a number of fellowships or organizations that do offer hiring further in advance. We’ve included a non-exhaustive list of these opportunities below that we would recommend:
Nonprofit consulting firms including Bridgespan. FSG, and Dalberg. These firms accept applications on timelines similar to for-profit consulting firms, but the work is focused on supporting social impact organizations. These organizations typically provide opportunities to transition to a wide range of jobs
Princeton in Africa or Princeton in Latin America. Applications close in October. If accepted, you are matched for a year-long fellowship with an NGO in the area beginning in June. The program works with great organizations and provides some support, but exit opportunities are sometimes challenging if the fellow doesn’t plan to remain in the city in which they are placed
Peace Corps is a 2 year placement abroad. You have the choice to apply directly for a role/location or to apply to the Peace Corps more broadly. The program is well-known, although some fellows struggle with adjusting back to life in the US
Teach for America. Applications open from Junior Spring until graduation. While any sort of teaching position can be a great opportunity, Teach for America provides a well-known two-year fellowship, a strong brand name and connections for strong exit opportunities in the social impact space. As a bonus, there are over 50,000 alumni, 80% of whom are still working in social impact careers
Jesuit Volunteer Corps provides the opportunity to live in community with other corps members and work with a local social impact organization for a year. The program does not provide a large salary, but pays for your room and board. Some fellows stay on at their host organization and the program provides a strong setting for career discernment. Applications open early in the year and extend through the summer for a fall program start.
Americorps provides opportunities to work for organizations that serve their community. The fellowship typically lasts a year and does not provide a significant salary, but offers loan deferment or loan forgiveness opportunities. Deadline varies by program.
Boren fellowships provide a stipend to live abroad and learn a new language in a culturally immersive experience in exchange for working for the Federal government for at least a year upon their return. Deadline is in January.
Global Health Corps provides a one-year fellowship to work on issues related to global health. The deadline to apply is January for a fellowship starting in June.