I wrote this piece for Rosetta Thurman’s advice blog over at Jobs for Change, a new initiative by change.org to get more people interested in careers in social change. You can ask the team of career advisors questions, subscribe to their blogs, and look for jobs. It is an amazing project and I encourage you to read and participate!

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As a young non-profit professional I have found it helpful to develop a strong support system of like-minded young people to share my aspirations, frustrations, and to grow with. However, reaching out is not always easy, especially if you are living in a new city. The resources and advice below can help you reach out so you can connect with your peers and develop your own support system.

Harness social media: Many of us use websites like Facebook and Myspace to keep in touch with friends. However there are other websites and social media that allow you to both connect with people you know and expand your network.

  • Start a blog: Through blogging you can share your experiences while connecting with others in the blogosphere. Brazen Careerist syndicates over 300 bloggers under the age of 30 who live around the world and have meetups. You can also meet fellow bloggers through groups like ChangeBloggers/ChangeMakers.
  • Go to a Meetup: Meetup.com is a great place to look for clubs that meet regularly around a certain issue. Just put in your zip code and your interest and a list of great opportunities to meet others pops up. Or, if you don’t see one that has what you are looking for, start your own!
  • Get LinkedIn: LinkedIn.com is a professional networking site that allows you to connect with people in your field, join groups, and ask/answer career related questions. You can bring your peers offline by inviting people out or going to events posted in groups.

Tap into your alumni network: Alumni chapters are a great way to meet people. Not only will you have something in common but also you will be able to stay connected with your alma mater. It is also a great way to highlight public service careers for current students. Contact the alumni office of your college to see if there is an alumni chapter near you or if they would be willing to one.

Join a young professionals group: Many nonprofits have young professionals groups that allow young professionals with a variety of interests, talents, and backgrounds to come together and work for a great cause. You can also look for a Young Nonprofit Professionals Network chapter in your city. Each chapter is different, however they all provide workshops, happy hours, and a list-serv that provides general information about events/programs in the city that are of interest to young nonprofit professionals.