Posts by Jeremy MacKechnie


Searching the site? Some updates for you.

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No need for a magnifying glass. (Photo: Mads Boedker, Flickr/Creative Commons)

Yesterday we released a new set of features to make it easier to find the people, organizations, and opportunities that matter most to you. Play around and let us know what you think!

Click on any of the listing types (Jobs, Volunteer Opportunities, etc.) in the header on Idealist.org, or start a search based on type, keyword, or location.

To better locate the opportunities relevant to where you are or want to be, we’ve refined our radius search to including listings from your choice of 5, 10, 25, 50, or 100 miles from any location. You can also search by region. Try a search for jobs in Eastern Europe or Western Africa, for example.

When searching for jobs:

  • Select Job Function, and narrow your search results by degree and experience requirements and whether you’re looking for something full or part-time.

When searching for volunteer opportunities:

  • Easily find opportunities based on how much time you want to give and when you’re free to give it.
  • Filter down to opportunities for groups and families, and if you’re looking to go abroad, tune-in on which organizations provide support to international volunteers.

To locate people:

  • Tap into our database of hundreds of thousands of individuals that are searching for friends, collaborators, clients, and volunteer opportunities.

We’ve also made our Info Centers more accessible. Now when you search for different topics, your results might include links to our Career Center or Grad School Resource Center. We figure if you’re searching for a job, you might also be interested in ways to score your next interview, for example.

Questions for us? Leave ‘em below.

Ideas for more improvements to the site? Add your suggestions to our GetSatisfaction page.

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Simplify your job search: Four tools to find jobs faster

This is the third in a three-part series for job seekers. You might also enjoy Can social media help you land your dream job? and Applying for jobs? Four free tools to keep the process simple.

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Job applicants prepare for mock interviews. (Photo: DC Central Kitchen, Flickr/Creative Commons)

The headlines about jobs are very doom-and-gloom, but this summer the number of jobs posted on Idealist has actually increased (knock on wood, there are currently more than 7,000 jobs listed on our site). If you’ve found yourself saying “there just aren’t enough hours in the day to stay on top of everything,” here are some tools to help you save time and keep your search organized and on track.

RSS feeds: For those who aren’t familiar, RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. You can set up a reader to serve as a one-stop website that automatically fills up with the personalized content you’re looking for.

All you need is a free RSS reader (like Google Reader) and a job site that supports RSS feeds (like ours!). To get started, run your favorite Idealist search, click the orange RSS button, and paste the URL into your reader. You’ll no longer have to constantly visit unique sites and run unique searches. All of your content will be in one place that’s easy to scan.

Google Alerts: Let’s say you’ve done some self-reflection and right now you’re motivated mainly by the desire to support a specific organization’s mission, by filling a specific type of role. (The “five lens framework” exercise can help you figure this out.)

If you know you want to be a Development Associate at the Alzheimer’s Association or a Program Officer at Room to Read, for example, create a Google Alert using those keywords. Then you’ll get an email whenever there is content posted on the web that matches. Even if you’re less sure about the exact job title you’re after, you can easily tailor alerts that pull in new jobs based on your area of interest or expertise.

Idealist Email Alerts: Similar idea, but specifically built into Idealist to help you stay on top of your searches there. They’re really easy to set up.

Social media: If you know you want to work at The Nature Conservancy, for example, be sure to like their page on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn, and connect to them on Idealist. Organizations will often reach out to their networks first before publicizing positions on major job boards.

Your turn! What other tools do you use to simplify your job search?

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Can social media help you land your dream job?

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Social networks can help you with your job search. Photo by Dean Meyers (Flickr/Creative Commons)

Remember when people said you should hide your social media profiles during a job hunt? Now I would argue the opposite. Become active in social media – just remember that the person reading your tweets, blog posts, etc. could be your future manager! Here are some tips.

Twitter: Follow the organizations that you’re interested in working for, and the causes that you’re passionate about. Tweet about topics that are relevant to the job you want to land. Interested in fundraising? Follow, RT, and engage in conversation with people already in fundraising. Staying on top of new developments in your field, and being public about it, highlights your growing expertise to future employers.

Facebook: Stop reading and go check your privacy preferences. Put up a photo that’s at least semi-professional and make sure to include your past work and education experience in your profile. Unlike pages that might scare away a potential employer and replace them with the pages of the organizations that you’d like to work for. Engage with their posts when the opportunity presents itself; it will help demonstrate that you’re knowledgeable about their work if and when the time comes for them to hire.

LinkedIn: I’m not even job hunting and I’ve received offers for interviews just because I have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile. Take the time to make your LinkedIn profile as beautiful and informative as your résumé. Keep it up to date with your accomplishments and find and connect to everyone that you know professionally. It can definitely pay off, especially when you’re applying to jobs and looking for someone in your network at a company or organization.

Google profile: For whatever reason, you may have something showing up in a Google search that you don’t want employers to see. Cultivate online content that you control by creating a free Google profile. (And read my last post to learn more about how free Google tools can help you manage your job search.)

Idealist: Create a free profile and let hiring managers see your skills, interests, experience, and the causes that you’re passionate about. You can also connect directly to the organizations that you’re interested in so that you’re in the know when they post new opportunities.

Free blogging tools: If you’ve got a skill, a talent, or a passion for something that is related to your career, start a blog on a free blog service like WordPress. A well-maintained blog is an awesome way to show off your expertise, writing skills, and personality to potential hiring managers. (Not sure where to start or how to maintain your blogging mojo? Lots of folks have written about these topics, including Rosetta Thurman, Badi Jones, and Allison Jones.)

And finally: Put the networking back into your social networks. Whenever you apply for a job, check your social networks for contacts that you have at the organization, or even friends of friends of friends at the organization. If you’re looking for a job, be proactive and message your contacts on all of your networks to let them know what you’re looking for. People usually want to help, and if they know what you’re looking for, they’ll think of you first if something similar opens up at their organization. Knowing someone that can vouch for you to the hiring manager is the easiest way to land an interview.

Your turn to weigh in! What other ways can you use the social web to make your job search more successful?

Other posts you might enjoy:

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Applying for jobs? Four free tools to keep the process simple

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Use these to hammer out applications and nail your dream job. (Photo: Kimmo Palosaari via Creative Commons)

Remember that old saying about how searching for a job is a full time job? Staying on top of all those deadlines, applications, cover letters, résumés, and job descriptions isn’t easy.

One of my favorite sets of tools for staying organized is the full suite of Google Apps. Here are a few tricks that you can try to help you stay above water during your job search. All you need is a free Gmail account to use them.

Docs: Save each cover letter that you write as a unique doc like “Cover letter for social media position” or “Cover letter for arts organization.” You’re already writing unique, tailored cover letters for each position that you apply for, so having them all readily accessible and searchable will save you a lot of time when you apply to similar positions in the future.

While you’re at it, save a copy of each job description as soon as you begin the application. (Here’s an example.) Once a listing comes down from Idealist or any other job site, it’s gone, and you’ll be less prepared for your interview if you can’t refer back to the specific requirements and description of the of the job that you’re aiming for.

Spreadsheets: You can use a spreadsheet to track everything that you’re doing in your job search. Feel free to copy this example I created (click on it to view full size):

Having everything in one place—information like where you’re finding the jobs that you’ve applied for, links to your cover letters, modified résumés, and even types of organizations that you’re applying to and whether you got a call back—will reveal trends that over time can help tailor your search.

Calendar: Nailed a phone interview for next week? Schedule it on your calendar and set reminders for a day and for a few hours beforehand. You don’t want to be late!

Gmail: If you’re applying to any job that requires a demonstrated understanding of technology or social media, you should be using the best tech tools that are available to you. As silly as it might seem, some hiring managers are biased against people that are using more “old fashioned” email services.

Are you on the hunt right now? What are some other online tools that can help manage the application process?

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Snag one of those daily deals (and give back)

Tons of sites are putting a do-gooder spin on the Groupon model.

A few months ago I wrote about G-Team, the cause-based, collective action website that eventually sparked Groupon. Groupon is no longer running solo with LivingSocial, Google Offers, and Facebook’s Deals, amongst many others, now competing in the local, social deal business.

The huge success of these platforms has also caught the eye of some new startups that see the potential to use this model to support the work of nonprofit organizations. Here are just a few of them:

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    Has your organization joined GoodTwo? What do you think so far?

    goodtwo: Nonprofits can create a page, pick a deal, and then share with their constituents through tools that the company provides for social media and email promotion. About 25% of each sale goes to the nonprofit, so it’s a unique, fun fundraising opportunity that puts a modern twist on the old bake sale and wrapping paper model.

  • Philanthroper: They say they’re another daily deal site, but instead of selling something, they’re sharing the story of a new nonprofit every day. If you identify with the story, you can donate a $1 to the organization to help fund it’s work. It’s a great way to disconnect from that shop ‘til you drop mentality, and connect with new nonprofits that need your support to scale their model.
  • CAUSEON, The Daily Hookup, and so many others. CAUSEON sends 20% of each daily deal sale to local community causes, while The Daily Hookup pitches deals relevant to the gay community, then sends 5% of each sale to local 501(c)(3)s that support LGBT organizations.

There are hundreds of daily deal sites now (DonorBuy.com just joined our site, for example), so it’s great to see some of these companies trying to differentiate themselves from the competition by pursuing models that benefit the nonprofit sector.

Know of any others I didn’t mention here? Ever snagged a particularly awesome deal? Shout it out in a comment below.

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Launching today: Google for Nonprofits programs

Today Google launched a new, simplified application process for nonprofits interested in accessing any of the company’s free suite of products designed specifically to help U.S.-based nonprofits reach more donors, improve operations, and raise awareness for their cause.

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You can follow @googlenonprofit to learn more.

Now, through one application, your organization can get:

  • Up to $10,000 a month in advertising on Google AdWords
  • Free or discounted Google Apps to cut IT costs and operate more efficiently
  • Premium features for YouTube and mapping technologies to raise awareness of your cause

One of the things that I find most exciting about Google’s new initiative for nonprofits is the creation of the Google for Nonprofits Marketplace. In their own words, the Marketplace aims to “connect nonprofits with professional service providers who have agreed to offer their services for a free or discounted rate. These firms are already certified partners from existing Google marketplaces—like AdWords Authorized Resellers, Analytics Certified Partners, Google Apps Marketplace and the Google Earth Outreach Developer Marketplace.”

If you use Twitter, you can follow #google4np for news from the launch.

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Students: Social Innovation Competition is a chance to win cash

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Shining Hope, winner of the 2010 competition

Applications for Dell’s Social Innovation Competition are due February 14th. In conjunction with the University of Texas at Austin, Dell is giving away more than $100,000 in cash prizes to university (undergraduate and graduate) students from around the world with fresh ideas to solve social or environmental problems.

What’s great about this project is that Dell and UT are encouraging students to submit their ideas no matter where they are in the process. If your idea doesn’t include a business plan and you don’t quite know how to scale it or make it financially viable yet, don’t despair. You won’t win first place but you could be one of 30 students selected to receive mentoring and support to improve your idea’s chances of future success.

If you’re not a student, you can browse and vote up others’ ideas here. Be sure to check out the dates, deadlines and official rules over at the Dell Social Innovation website.

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The couch potato's guide to being an active supporter

Via flickr user fergie_lancealot (creative commons)

I recently read that this Sunday’s New York City marathon has the highest number of people running on behalf of charities in the event’s history, expecting to raise over $26.2 million dollars. That’s a million dollars for every mile. That’s a lot of money and a lot of people willing to run a long way to support a cause they believe in.

Walk/run events such as The Susan G. Komen For The Cure event, March for Equality, and the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer are popular with nonprofit organizations, maybe because they’re such visible fundraisers and awareness-raisers. (Who hasn’t heard of them)?

One of my friends recently participated in the AIDS/LifeCycle event in California, a 545 mile, 7 day bike trip. I would have loved to support the cause by riding with him, but let’s face it, I would have probably required medical attention after mile one. I donated on behalf of my friend’s race, but I was still left wanting to be in an event instead of just cheering on the sidelines.

So, I searched for events that were more up my ally and matched my physical stamina:

  • Dance-a-thons: I can definitely boogie all night. Check out the 24 Hour Cancer Dance-a-thon.
  • Movember: Teams of dudes raise money and grow mustaches in the month of November to raise awareness around men’s cancers.
  • Donate your birthday: Hannah blogged about this phenomenon last year. I love my birthday more than the average Joe, so this is a big one for me. Ask your social networks to make a donation on your behalf to an organization that you support.

Boom: My excuse to not fundraise for a cause I believe in because I’m out of shape is out the window. Have any other non-athletic fundraising ideas?

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Discounted price for the NextGen:Charity conference in NYC

We’re partnering with NextGen:Charity for this year’s leaders in nonprofits and philanthropy innovation conference, November 18-19 in the heart of Times Square. Our founder and executive director Ami Dar will speak at the conference, and our blog readers can register for a discounted rate.

The conference is oriented towards leaders of the world’s top nonprofits and “aimed to help you run your organization more effectively and efficiently, and connect with donors and your community more powerfully.” Other speakers will include our friend Nancy Lublin, founder of DoSomething.org and author of Zilch: The Power of Zero in Business; Randi Zuckerberg from Facebook; and Scott Harrison, founder and president of charity:water.

To learn more about speakers, workshops, and attendees, click here. And if you want to be there yourself, buy your ticket through this link for 20% off the standard entry rate.

[This blog entry appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]

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Online shopping for the socially conscious

Shopping cart

From Flickr user Andrea de Poda

I love online shopping. The fact that in a few clicks I can get a T-shirt, a tube of toothpaste, and the latest DVD set of Glee delivered to my doorstep from Amazon or that I can use eBay to search for used versions of things I don’t need to buy new makes me never need to step foot in a store again. My latest favorite is Groupon, offering local deals to groups of buyers (as well as ways to support nonprofit groups).

We recently came across a few online shopping sites that let you add a bit of social conscience to your cart.

  • Yinyango.org: Shopping for free stuff. What could be better? This site is an online marketplace for people that want to offer their stuff up for free to local consumers instead of letting it go to the dump. Helping push forward the local “reusing” movement, the site enables people to reduce waste and save money.
  • Blissmo.com: Blissmo is similar to GroupOn but it focuses its offers entirely on sustainable and organic products and services. With weekly discounts of up to 50%, buying sustainable doesn’t have to be expensive anymore.
  • WorldofGood.com: This online global marketplace from eBay allows sellers to reach consumers who are interested in products that are good for artisans, good for the planet, good for animals or good for nonprofits. You can also search for Fair Trade products. Did you know that October is Fair Trade month?

Do you know of any other sites for socially conscious shoppers? Tell us about them!

[This blog entry appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]

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