This is a guest post by Heather Krasna, author of the new book, Jobs That Matter: Find a Stable, Fulfilling Career in Public Service:
Recent surveys show that Millennials want to make a difference in the world. The National Association of Colleges and Employers found that 27 percent of graduating seniors in 2009 plan to work for nonprofit groups or government. Another survey by the Partnership for Public Service found that 90 percent would be interested in a federal government job. On top of that, the recent Heartland Monitor Poll found that 55 percent of Millennials are seeking long-term job security.
Many of the jobs that make a difference in the world, like those in environmental, social services, education, community development, religion, international development or the arts, are found only in the nonprofit sector or government. Some of the most interesting and fulfilling jobs—like wildlife biologists, foreign service officers, community development specialists, social workers, disaster management specialists, or community organizers and advocates, can only be found in government or nonprofit organizations.
Another reason to consider public service work is that many of these jobs are the most stable in a down economy. For instance, the layoff rate for government was only 0.6 percent in January 2009, compared with 2.1 percent in the private sector.
But the job search for nonprofit or government entities can be very different from the typical ones you might have been prepared for by your college career center. For instance, government agencies may ask you to write essays about your work experience and how it relates to a job, or you may have to take a civil service test. You have to follow all instructions carefully in order to be considered, and a normal resume may not work. For a nonprofit organization, you should highlight your volunteer experience and leadership, and make sure to network as much as possible into the often tight-knit nonprofit community.
Interested in learning more about public service careers? Heather’s new book, Jobs That Matter: Find a Stable, Fulfilling Career in Public Service (© 2010 JIST Works), shares the secrets you need to land a fulfilling job in public service. For more tips from Heather, visit www.heatherkrasna.com.