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Pages tagged "Job Search"


What do you mean you need a work visa?

“What do you mean you need a work visa?” After this question, many of my job interviews turned really awkward. Another common question that would follow was, “So, are you here illegally?”

Uh, no.

As an international student at a U.S. college, I always knew in the back of my head that if I wanted to stay and work in this county, I would need my employer to sponsor my work visa. What does that mean? Simply put, you have to submit an application and your employer pretty much pays the country to let you work here. But the truth is that this process is nothing short of a nightmare. It might seem that the complicated part is the visa application, but, in my experience, the challenge came long before the visa process.

I was fortunate to have a good International Student Program at my school. They were always very helpful, and they had all the information we needed to know. If you are going to embark in the adventure that is a work visa, make sure you reach out to someone who is familiar with the process to guide you. If you don’t know anyone (or even if you do), here’s some advice from a person who’s been there.

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Paid Vs Unpaid Internships

main.jpgHave you had an internship experience that was unpaid? For many of you, especially those in the nonprofit sector, that answer will be yes. According to a 2010 study by Intern Bridge, Inc., 57 percent of internships at nonprofits were unpaid, compared with 48 percent in government and 34 percent at for-profit businesses.

YNPN Twin Cities has teamed up with leading capacity building nonprofit organizations, Pollen Midwest, Springboard for the Arts and Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, to change the way that paid and unpaid internships are promoted on online job boards and within our sector. Now on MCN’s, Springboard for the Arts’, and Pollen Midwest’s job boards, paid internships will be listed separately from unpaid internships, which will be found in a different section or with the volunteer opportunities. This change allows internship seekers to search only for paid internships and promotes to the nonprofit sector that paid internships will attract more competitive, qualified candidates. YNPN Twin Cities approached these three capacity building organizations to make this change because we saw our members and college students had a difficult time sorting between unpaid and paid opportunities - a big difference when you’re building your work experience.

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Be a contender: Mental illness recovery & your resume

main2.jpgAs a person who has healed from four severe mental illnesses and a blooming young professional, I believe in acknowledging the whole of my experience. I bring it up during all of my interviews because I don’t want to work for people who stigmatize my uniquely acquired knowledge base. Mentally ill Americans are one in five, about as common as brown eyes.

If you’ve started looking for help, excellent–you’re among 50% of the mentally ill population. More people have a Facebook account right now. Before you’ve even gotten into the therapy room, you’re already an amazing human being. Why not heal and use the awesome skills that come from this journey to get a job that matches your worth? Let’s get down to business and frame those core competencies.

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Hello from the other side: From interviewee to interviewer

main.jpgWhen I was seventeen years old, I had my very first interview for a sales position at a sports retail store in Madison, Wisconsin. I’m embarrassed to admit that I strolled in to that interview ten minutes late, wearing jeans, and with no resume. Even though I somehow managed to get that job (thank you, Rick, for giving that young kid a chance), I have thankfully learned a lot since then about preparing for interviews.

Like many things, interviewing is a skill that you can build with practice and preparation. Over the past couple years, I have enjoyed the opportunity to be the interviewer for a change. So in this post, I would like to share a few insights I’ve gained from being on the other side of the table.

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The path less taken

Path in the WildernessWhen I heard we were going to do a session on non-linear career paths as part of the EPIP-YNPN Leadership Institute, I was super excited. I’m a pro at this; I’ve spent the last six-ish years having absolutely no idea where my career was going.

I graduated in 2009 with a double major in International Relations and Arabic and a concentration in Middle Eastern studies, so I had one very clear career option: becoming a spy. (Or, you know, going into international business, working as a translator, becoming a diplomat, etc.)

Unfortunately for me, none of those careers panned out, and it was the height of the recession. There were no jobs for recent college grads, so my career focus had to shift from dreams of shaken martinis to attempts at gaining job experience and building my resume.

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Squirrels of Color, and How to Catch Them

Purple SquirrelsYou know what a purple squirrel is, right?

It’s kind of a joke--a recruiter’s term for an imaginary candidate that fits their open position perfectly. It’s an animal that might exist in reality, but probably not. This candidate is mythically good, impossibly rare, and costly to chase. Some would even say chasing them is a waste of time, that you’re better off training applicants to fit. There’s a lot out there explaining why you shouldn’t chase purple squirrels. I’ll focus on how the search for the perfect candidate affects the recruitment of people of diverse backgrounds, who we’ll be calling “squirrels of color” (SOCs).

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The Maybe Best, Maybe Worst Time I Quit My Job

I’ve quit a few jobs post-college. The first time was terrifying—I returned to the Twin Cities with no job lined up, just with the money I’d saved working as a motel clerk in my tiny hometown. The next one was embarrassing—I quit a part-time job one week in because a full-time offer came my way. After that, an uplifting experience—after over a year of rejections, I finally got a “you’re hired,” and it was from an organization I was wildly passionate about.

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“Your Position Is Being Eliminated”

main.jpgI wish I could say I have never heard those words before, but since I started my career in the midst of a recession, I have had the unfortunate circumstance of being laid off twice. The reasons were very different each time, but the loss was the same. I felt like I was the missing puzzle piece in an otherwise complete picture.

Losing your job is much like losing anything of value. You have to go through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It is natural to feel these emotions, and I have found that, with job loss, stages two through four feel most relevant. 

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Looking When You’re Not Looking

I’m learning something in life, over and over again. I’m learning that a lot of the best things happen when you’re not looking for them. Maybe you’ve heard this from people before, sometimes in the context of romantic relationships. It’s a classic; they were seeking hard, and missing, and failing, and trying harder, and missing bigger, and the whole time the best thing was right under their nose. Common denominator in these situations? Stop looking.

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Negotiating FTW

Negotiation In ActionI am finishing up an MBA at the University of Saint Thomas, and one of my last classes is an elective on negotiations. I really enjoy it. The readings are on sports contracts and great diplomatic compromises. I enjoy both role-playing in the cases that we use for mock negotiations and the debriefing afterward, where the class analyzes cases from every point of view. These are enriching experiences.

There are some really useful skills that I've picked up in the class, many from Ron Shapiro's book, The Power of Nice. If you are looking for an approachable book on building your negotiation skills, I'd definitely recommend this one. It’s full of memorable guidelines and pithy insights from many years in sports and entertainment negotiation, and it’s a quick read. His “3Ps and a Big L” – prepare, probe, propose, and listen – is as useful and basic an insight as you’re likely to get, and it can be applied to any number of situations we face as young nonprofit professionals.

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