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Adapting Your Resume for a Nonprofit Job Search

Secrets of Resume Writing for Non-Profits

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Read their website, blogs, press releases and take notes next to the job posting. It will be valuable to you if you interview with the agency. Consider placing a summary at the top of your resume. This 3 to 4 sentence paragraph is your elevator pitch, your chance to summarize your experience, passion and success. A well written summary can distinguish your resume, if there is heavy competition for the job. An example of an executive summary would be, "Results-driven non-profit communications manager with 9 years of experience writing press releases, planning conferences and leading summer educational programs.

Passionate about helping low-income families to bridge educational gaps caused by lack of financial support. Expertise in improving team performance, obtaining funding and improving press coverage.

Proven leader who can develop volunteer bases and foster enduring community support. Format your resume according to modern conventions. Try to fit your resume on 1 page, or 2 if you cannot condense your experience and education into a 1-page resume. Choose an experience-based resume format. You can choose either a functional resume, that provides experience based on skills, or a chronological resume, that shows a chronological list of all your non-profit jobs.

Choose a functional resume if you have worked in and out of the non-profit sector. You may also choose this format if the job description asks for a lot of diverse skills, such as grant-writing, donor development, management, communications, public speaking and more. Separate the resume into sections for each skill and list specific experience and accomplishments you have gained, followed by the job titled and agency name.

Choose a chronological format if you have many years of experience in the non-profit sector. With an impressive list of your past jobs, you can detail the skills you have gained underneath each job title. Include the agency and dates of each job. If you have just graduated from college and you want to break into the non-profit sector, you may want to choose a functional format.

Non-profits often value both formal and non-formal experience, so include volunteering, event planning and any skills gained with an organization under the skill sections. With both formats you can list your education in a short section at the end. Focus on your accomplishments. Many job seekers focus on skills and ignore their achievements.

If possible, quantify the funding, increase in membership, donor involvement, community impact and more. Revise your chronological or functional descriptions to include any time you were singled out for your success, given a promotion or even given more responsibility.

Make sure each bulleted skill or accomplishment leads with an action verb, so revise each section of your resume to include the verbs with the most meaning. Action verbs qualify your experience in a positive, results-oriented way.

Consider using these verbs, if they apply to your experience: Return to your organization and job description research. Insert stressed or frequently used words into your resume in appropriate places, such as descriptions of your skills, experience, education or accomplishments. Include a volunteer section. Many non-profits rely heavily on volunteer workers, so they value this experience more than other sectors. Include any board or committee positions, responsibilities and programs you may have started.

This is a wonderful way to gain the necessary skills to be a standout applicant for a non-profit job. This is especially important if you are looking to leave a corporate job to move into the non-profit world.

Your target employers know that the work is often hard, sometimes dispiriting and never well-paid. This means that you should customize your resume each time you send it out to make sure that it directly speaks to the mission of the non-profit.

But keep it balanced. They need hard-working pragmatists who can make things happen. You will have to navigate bureaucracies, bring people together, resolve conflicts, handle rejection and most of all, do a lot with very little money.

Therefore, you need to strike a balance between showing commitment to the cause and displaying some hard-nosed business savvy. The way to keep this balance is to stress results. Make your successes a central part of your resume. If you increased sales, tell them about it. If you cut costs, explain by how much and how you did it.

These results will demonstrate to the managers reading your resume that you can deliver for them. Non-profits are vastly different from one another in many ways, but the one thing they all share is a need to do more with less. Most are strapped for cash, and even the organizations with lots of money, like the Gates Foundation, require their projects to run on tight budgets in order to make sure that most of the money goes towards making an impact.

So your resume should highlight times when you have achieved results while keeping costs low, or come up with creative low-cost solutions that have increased sales, or improved productivity or cut costs. Usually I advise people to keep their resume very focused on a narrow set of skills, but non-profit resumes are a little different.


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To help you craft a resume, here are six good examples prepared for an application for a senior nonprofit role. These real-world samples, with identifying information removed, illustrate a range of approaches used to represent work experience and qualifications.

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Resume content. The keys to adapting a primarily for-profit resume for a nonprofit job search are emphasizing transferable skills, highlighting nonprofit experience, and making the content relevant to a nonprofit hiring manager.

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Nonprofit Resume Tips Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert Just as there’s no one right way to develop a resume for the for-profit sector, resumes for nonprofit jobs are also dependent on the target job and organization. If you want to work at a non-profit, the chances are you are committed to making a difference. After all, you’re not in it for the money! Showing this passion is important when writing your resume, but it’s just as important to demonstrate that you can make an .

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What really jumps off the resume for nonprofit employers during a recession? KD: If you’re a bridger (someone making the transition from for-profit to nonprofit work), you certainly want to highlight any nonprofit board experience you have, making clear if it was volunteer experience. assistant vice president resume executive assistant resume sample Executive assistant resume is. Find this Pin and more on Non Profit Resume Samples by Blue Sky Resumes. Great Management Resume Examples You .