Go-to resources for meaningful careers in each sector

Amy Potthast served as Idealist’s Director of Service and Graduate Education Programs until 2011. Read more of her work at amypotthast.com.

Plotting your next career move? Here’s a sampling of comprehensive go-to resources from the career experts in each sector: corporate citizenship, government, or nonprofit.

Corporate citizenship careers

Net Impact’s Corporate Careers that Make a Difference is a guide to pursuing a career in corporate citizenship either by pushing the boundaries in a more traditional corporate role or by taking on a role specifically dedicated to social or environmental impact. The book shares the stories of dozens of professionals who have blazed trails in this work; it also describes key corporate citizenship career competencies (useful both to help you develop your skills as well as to talk about them during a job search).

Net Impact is a membership organization that is inspiring new generations of professionals who put their business skills to work for social and environmental change across sectors through chapter networks, resources, and outreach to MBA students and schools.

You can download the sneak peek here.

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Federal jobs by region: image from MakingtheDifference.org

Federal careers

MakingtheDifference.org is a website from Partnership for Public Service that introduces pathways to federal government careers. The site explains what the cabinet departments are, what the federal agencies are; describes the diverse roles federal workers play in their careers; offers informational interviews with federal workers; clarifies what and where federal jobs are (did you know that most are not in Washington, D.C.?) as well as internships.

Partnership for Public Service is a nonpartisan organization that attracts young leaders to federal government service through education, advocacy, and resources that demystify the federal job search and clarify pathways to public-sector service.

Nonprofit Careers

Available both in print and online, the Idealist Guide to Nonprofit Careers for Sector Switchers is an A to Z look at landing a job in the nonprofit sector for professionals who started their careers in other sectors. From helping job seekers understand what the sector is (and isn’t) all the way to closing the deal — or starting a new nonprofit instead.

The Idealist Guide to Nonprofit Careers for First-Time Job Seekers (also available in print and online) features similar content by introducing new professionals to career concepts and skills they may be less familiar with.

A companion to both of these guides is Service Corps to Social Impact Career — a guide I wrote for national and international service participants and recent alumni of all ages. Only available online (and free), the book helps corps members prepare for their post-service career transition, explore career options, and translate their service experience during the job search, and settle into a new professional role.

Finally, Making a Difference: A Guide to Personal Profit in a Nonprofit World (also online, also free) from Idealist and the National Endowment for Financial Education offers financial guidance for recent college graduates who are contemplating a nonprofit career and concerned about making ends meet. The book discusses topics like student loans, budgeting, salary search, cost of living, credit and retirement plans.

Of course, there are other sector-specific career guides. What are your favorites? How have they helped you succeed?

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Comments (7)


  1. Cheryl writes:
    February 24, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Thank you! This is very helpful, especially at a time when it seems like meaningful service careers will soon be in political and economic compromise. Fingers crossed for the future!

    “In making your way through life, sometimes you experience a moment when you know this is where I am supposed to be, this is what I am supposed to be doing. We can all find a way to make a difference in the world, however big or small that change may be” (http://www.bothyourhands.org/index.html)


  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Idealist, Sara Herald, Injita, Give And Get NYC, Bruno Sarda and others. Bruno Sarda said: RT @idealist: Plotting a career move in #nonprofit OR corporate citizenship OR government sector? Resources for you: http://bit.ly/iaeMZR [...]


  3. Marc Baizman writes:
    February 27, 2011 at 8:40 am

    I also want to give a shoutout to the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, http://www.ynpn.org. YNPN promotes an efficient, viable, and inclusive nonprofit sector that supports the growth, learning, and development of young professionals. We engage and support future nonprofit and community leaders through professional development, networking and social opportunities designed for young people involved in the nonprofit community.

    Full disclosure: I’m the cochair of the Boston chapter of YNPN.


  4. Jung writes:
    February 27, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Great post Amy!


  5. Idealist writes:
    February 28, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Yes! We love and appreciate you, YNPN. How is your national survey going? -Julia


  6. Carly Janson, New Sector Alliance writes:
    March 7, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    This is great — thanks Amy!

    http://www.saveservice.org


  7. Cher writes:
    July 22, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Thanks for the wonderful resources! I tweeted about it from @cherhale.


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