/ Asked by Kylie
I am a recent Ohio State grad with a B.A in communications. I am wanting to get into the nonprofit world, or special event planning, maybe both. I know I naturally possess the skills necessary along with my education to be an excellent candidate. I just don't know how to get my foot in the door. Any suggestions?
Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., on Monday, January 9, 2017
Congratulations on graduating!  It is great to recognize how your natural proclivities and education come together for their best impact.  It can take people a long time to figure out what is going to be best for them, so consider yourself a step ahead in the game.  Now how to best use that step is the big question.

Just as you would with any job in any field, networking is going to be a key ingredient.  There are a number of ways to meet people in the fields and organizations you are interested in, so first off, get your LinkedIn profile up to snuff and reach out to people who are already involved in the areas you see yourself.  Have a look at the profiles of people you admire.  What organizations are they members of?  What did they do to advance their careers?  If there are conferences, societies or other meetups that are popular in the community you are interested in, join them! 

Talk to people about your goals.  You never know who is going to have a connection that you can use to get that proverbial foot through the first door.  And be prepared with your elevator pitch and willingness to get in on the ground floor. 

Information interviewing is also an excellent tool for learning more about an organization and/or a specific person.  This starts with building relationship so you can ask for the meeting, be respectful, be interested, be persistent without being overbearing.  People are often willing to talk about what they do and how they do it, but they are also incredibly busy!  Make it easy, take them to coffee and be courteous and flexible when/if schedules change. 

Putting yourself out there is a big part of success both in non-profits and in events, so these suggestions are all likely part of your wheelhouse, you just need to put it all together!  Best of luck!
Answered by Ashley, Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health, on Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Congratulations on graduating! This is a huge accomplishment. As with anything, networking is going to be key to helping you get your foot in the door. Since you are interested in nonprofit, I would strongly encourage you to start getting involved with local nonprofit organizations. This is a great way to start networking with folks who have similar interests and may have additional connections with other nonprofit organizations. Also, I would recommend getting involved with local young professional groups. If you are still in the Columbus area, there are several young professional organizations in the surrounding cities. This will allow you the opportunity to network with professionals at all levels within organizations in the surrounding area.
Best of luck with your job search!
Answered by Bret, Hiring Expert at Emerson, on Thursday, January 12, 2017
Thanks for the question!

I would keep your approach simple. Ohio State is a very large and reputable university with alumni all over the world, in all businesses and in all non-profits. I would work the alumni network and leverage OSU first.

Another key to getting into a focused area is to realize there are many paths to getting there. Your first job won’t be your only job and your first organization won’t be your only organization. If you find a non-profit that aligns with your passion and your skills, regardless of its size or reputation, get involved and see where it takes you.

A different approach all together would be to start your own non-profit. With strong communication skills you may very well be able to get something off the ground you are particularly interested in and then leverage that into a larger opportunity. Beyond what you have learned and experienced in university, going through the difficulty of setting something up, building the vision, and gathering donations, followers and volunteers you will know what people went through to start a future organization you may join.

Best of luck!
Answered by Lina, Hiring Expert at ADP, on Friday, January 27, 2017
Hello! Congratulations on graduating, you are at a very exciting (and kind of scary) time in your life!

I think your degree can definitely be an asset in a non-profit or special planning role. If you don't have any direct experience in either of these fields you'll want to start out by networking as much as possible. Either through networking events or LinkedIn. LinkedIn actually has a great alumni networking tool where you can find your school's alumni - you can see the field they work in, the company, and what their role is.  I suggest looking for people who are work in non-profit or special planning and reaching out to them for an informational interview, you'll have the alumni connection so hopefully that makes it easier to reach out. Informational interviews are a great way for you to learn about what it takes to get to a role that you want, you also grow your network, and you can get great advice - And you never know, it could result in an internship or a job!

You can also look for non-profit organizations or event planning companies that interest you and seeing what kind of entry-level opportunities they have available. You may not be able to start doing your dream job but you'll get to start somewhere and slowly get to your ideal job.

Hope this helps and good luck! 
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