How to find a political or non-profit job; and keep one.
by Anastasia Apa
The secret to finding a political or non-profit job is almost a secret. Early in my career I experienced difficulty finding political campaign jobs. I didn’t know what websites to go to or who to speak to, what kinds of jobs would be available, or what prospective employers were looking for when making hiring decisions. There were other things I didn’t know, lots of other things.
Years later, I haven’t figured it all out, but here are some tips I can share with confidence. These tips are designed to walk you through the process of applying for and landing political and campaign jobs.
Start with a good resume. Political progressives or non-profit professionals tend to prefer short and sweet. Cut to the chase, avoid information about all of your university accolades. Stick to the strengths and experience you have. If you don’t have much experience, focus on two or three strong skills you developed. If you have field experience focus on field, if you have finance experience, focus on finance – choose a track. Use a clear font, and use tight, easy to read formatting. Let your personality shine through your resume, don’t be afraid to shine bright.
Here is the golden ticket. Two websites that will change your life if you are seeking a political or non-profit job - DemocrticGain.org and Idealist.org - trust me, ‘nuff said. Another “website tip” is be sure you think through and develop a list of companies, candidates or political organizations you would like to work for. Then, go to their websites and see what jobs they have available (and apply). Check all websites periodically. Being wiling to relocate is a plus, be flexible if you can, broaden your experiences.
Keep a matrix in Excel of what jobs you apply for. Include columns for name of organization, title name, position location, link to posting, and a notes section for you to track your progress. If you get a call for a resume, you can use the matrix to brush-up on your talking points about the jobs so you can tailor the conversation and shine bright.
Finding a job is tough. Stick too it and don’t get discouraged. It may take weeks or months to get an interview and/or land a job. You will need to be aware of the “hiring cycles” and maintain good contact lists. A call from someone who knows you to someone who’s hiring is golden.