Important Skills for Non-profit Work – Adaptability & Flexibility

Working for non-profit can be extremely rewarding no matter what side of the desk you find yourself on based on your major or interests. Whether you are thinking about an operations or business role or a counselor or program coordinator, here are some tips to help showcase your experience to land the job which can give you a lifetime of personal fulfillment and gratification.

“When seeking candidates for non-profit work, we often look for evidence of long-term commitment to a cause”, says Andrew M. Oravecz, Northwestern CT Area Health Education Center Director; Health360. “For example, candidates who progressively take on more responsibility within a club or activity over numerous semesters, conveys commitment, reliability, and leadership potential that are desirable in the workforce. Students can also accomplish this through strategic course selection, volunteer commitments, or internship experiences that demonstrate a cohesive vision to the employer.”

Andrew, a 2020 graduate of UConn with his master’s in public policy, goes on to say that another skill non-profit employers look for is adaptability. Because non-profits are often funded through grants from different foundations or government entities, programmatic points of emphasis vary and require employees to adjust their lens frequently. “An organization’s local workforce development agency might have different priority areas compared to a community foundation intent on serving underrepresented youth. Non-profits are often the people seeking common ground between those adjacent perspectives so that projects can move forward towards community benefit. Without flexibility, navigating these spaces and developing robust community partnerships becomes exceedingly difficult. Our missions’ might remain constant, but how we go about achieving them changes with time.”

Flexibility and adaptability are key. “We like candidates who are flexible and goal-drive, as volunteer service can often involve switching gears quickly and making sure that a project is completed fully,” says Michael Andranovich, Program Coordinator for AmeriCorps Cape Cod, “When looking at a national volunteer service program, it’s usually goo to have some background on the topic (whether that’s conservation, education, community outreach, diversity and inclusion, etc.), but it’s not always necessary!” He says they are always just looking for people who want to make a difference in a community and build skills for the future and contribute to a greater good.

Health360 and AmeriCorps both attended the Careers for the Common Good Expo in March, which is one of the Career Fairs the Center for Career Development puts on each year. The Careers for the Common Good Expo is designed for students to gain insight into socially responsible career paths and industries such as Sustainability, Health Sciences, Activism & Social Change, and Human Services.

The Career Center is here to help. If you are an organization looking to participate in our Non-profit Expo in March 2024, please email

For students, our Career Coaches are available to help you develop your application materials, practice for interview, and help you take the next step in your career journey. Book an appointment with one of our Career Coaches here!

By Wendy Kopp
Wendy Kopp Corporate Partner Relations Coordinator