Three Steps to Getting an Internship in Non-profit / Government

Deniz Duru Aydin is a senior at CAS, majoring in Politics and European & Mediterranean Studies. Originally from Istanbul, Turkey, she interned at various arts-related nonprofits and government organizations including the Lincoln Center and New York State Council on the Arts. She is currently working as a Policy Fellow with Access (www.accessnow.org), an international non-profit organization that focuses on issues at the intersection of technology and human rights. She is also involved in various projects on internet-related policymaking such as the Youth Coalition on Internet Governance and Freedom Online Coalition.

Three Steps to Getting an Internship in Non-profit / Government

by Deniz Duru Aydin (Peer in Career)

Whether you are a politics major who is dedicated to becoming the next President of the United States, or an environmentalist looking to gain experience while working for the advancement of a cause you are passionate about, an internship experience at a nonprofit or governmental organization is a great for your pre-professional development. Here are a few steps – all tested and verified – that will help you if your career search in the non-private sector:

1- Use NYU CareerNet with the right keywords and timing

You should know the best tags to filter from the hundreds of opportunities listed on NYU CareerNet. If you are interested in the non-profit sector and/or government organizations, using specific keywords including, but not limited to, “policy” “human rights” and “advocacy” will make your life easier.

Are you passionate about a specific cause? As the NYU CareerNet job search looks through job descriptions by default, you should also try searching for positions using specific policy issues. As an example, using “climate change” as a keyword will let you find internships posted by organizations working on environmental issues, including specialized governmental agencies. Alternatively, try to run your search using a geographical focus – ie. “Middle East” or “Latin America” – which will help you navigate the best opportunities that fit your academic experience or personal background. If you are an international student, remember to leverage your language skills by looking for opportunities in international organizations that require or prefer foreign language fluency.

Is there an election coming up? Use NYU CareerNet to look for opportunities to volunteer at an election campaign. Timing is definitely important when it comes to finding an interesting experience. As an example, I volunteered during the 2013 New York City mayoral elections to get a chance to observe first-hand how electoral politics work in the United States. Keep an open eye to what is happening around you and unleash your curiosity!

2- Take your job search to external platforms

Apart from NYU CareerNet, keep an eye on the websites of the organizations you are passionate about. Most nonprofits have year-round volunteering opportunities, as well as paid internship/assistantship options that they publish on their websites, mostly under “Careers” sections.

Another great resource for finding the right opportunity is Twitter! Most organizations publish their job advertisements on Twitter, as they think that it is an effective way to reach people who are most passionate about their work. Create a Twitter list that includes organizations that you would like to work/intern for. This way, you will not only have a great resource to check new opportunities in 140 characters, but also a personally curated list that will help you follow the updates on causes you care about!

If you are looking for a more aggregated job search platform, Idealist.org is very useful for finding nonprofit internships and volunteer opportunities, as its mission is “to close the gap between intention and action by connecting people, organizations, ideas, and resources.” In addition, most job search platforms such as indeed.com and LinkedIn job search have opportunities in the non-profit and government sector. Finally, remember to use more specialized resources such as usajobs.gov to find federal and state-level opportunities.

3- Develop new interests, network & network some more!

In today’s world and while you are in New York City, the opportunities for networking are limitless for all sectors, including nonprofit and government. Attending lectures outside your school at NYU would be a great idea to meet with influential thought leaders in the policy area you are interested in, as well as developing new interests. Use the NYU Events listing and keep an eye on the events calendars of interesting university-wide NYU institutions including but not limited to Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, Institute for Public Knowledge or The Governance Lab.

Events outside NYU are also helpful in finding your dream job or internship at a nonprofit. As an example, Dylan James Welch, a senior at NYU studying International Relations, found his current job through attending a TEDx Conference in his hometown Boston. After hearing about the organization, he got involved in its NYU Chapter, which led to an internship opportunity at the organization’s main office in New York City.

If you’d like to put your networking skills to the test, attend this popular Wasserman event featuring a number of non-profit organizations:

Dining for Success (For Juniors, Seniors and Graduate Students)

Thursday, April 2, 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. LOCATION: TBA (check CareerNet for the latest information) IN-PERSON REGISTRATION AND REFUNDABLE CASH DEPOSIT REQUIRED! Registration is first-come, first-served! Mastering interviewing skills is hard enough, but what about when your interview is over a meal? Don’t let your dining etiquette stand in the way of getting the job! Join NYU Recruiters from ESPN, Teach for America, Ernst & Young, PwC, The Walt Disney Company and more to practice these skills over a three-course meal! More information about in-person registration HERE.

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