Report on Hopes and Challenges of Job Seekers

PJ Staff Report recently released Voices from the Sector: The Job Seeker Report. is an online resource to connect people and organizations with jobs, internships, volunteer opportunities, and programs. Job postings on the Idealist site have steadily increased over the last four years. 

Over three thousand job seekers responded to’s survey. One third of the job seekers are employed full-time, but still staying informed about new opportunities in the nonprofit sector. About 40% are interested in executive level positions in a nonprofit. Many of the job seekers desire a new job for an increase in salary and/or benefits, for the opportunity to advance, or because there are dissatisfied with their organization’s work. Ranking nearly as high is dissatisfaction with their organization’s culture/environment/leadership.

The survey revealed some common challenges faced by job seekers. Many organizations do not include salary information in their postings which makes it challenging for job seekers to determine their fit with the position. Respondents also cited lack of communication with employers as a top challenge in job searching. The majority, 86%, reported that they usually don’t hear back from employers after they have applied for a position. Challenges also include finding jobs that interest them and for which they are qualified. 

Job seekers’ application strategy is not always aligned with employer’s preferences. Almost all job seekers and employers agree that cover letters should be customized.  However, while 37% of job seekers say they keep their resume to one page, only 24% of the 1000 employers studied indicated that this is their preference. Many hiring managers, 40%, dislike candidates contacting them about their application status. Almost 25% of job seekers do this.   

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