Resumes for Nonprofit Jobs

Tips for Resume Writing Success in the Nonprofit World

You’ve surely read a number of books, articles and websites about how to write a winning resume. But have you considered how your nonprofit job resume might different from your corporate resume? While the purpose of your resume stays the same – to sell yourself as the right person for the job – there are a few steps that you can take to make your resume nonprofit-ready.

Become a Generalist AND a Specialist

Most jobs are hiring someone with specific skills, who can fill a specific need within the company or organization. This is true for nonprofit organizations as well, but nonprofits are also known for requiring their employees to be a bit more flexible. In many cases, a nonprofit employer from entry-level all the way up to the executive director will be asked to pitch in with a project or campaign. If you are jumping into a nonprofit career, your resume should highlight all of the ways in which you have showed this kind of job flexibility in the past, and your willingness to work in the nonprofit environment.

Show your Commitment

Nonprofit jobs are about the mission. First and foremost, a nonprofit employer will want to see that you are dedicated to the mission and programs of the organization. If you don’t have specific experience in youth development (for example), you can still apply for a job in mentoring. But you should highlight on your resume and volunteer experience, or other extracurricular activities, hobbies or interests that might display your commitment. If you are active in your church and/or other religious or community activity, make sure this is on your resume as well!

Focus on Transferable Skills

There are a number of skills that you might possess, either as a recent graduate or a s someone making a mid-career change to the nonprofit world, that may not be specific to the public sector, but employers would be happy to see. Communication, leadership and commitment are great to put on a resume, but what about the specifics? If you have web design, database or other technical skills, certainly highlight those as many nonprofits are under-funded in those areas and could use you as a resource. Experience with finance and accounting can also serve you well for a variety of nonprofit jobs. The best thing you can do for your resume is highlight the skills that will make you stand out from the crowd, while serving the needs of your potential employer.

The most important thing to remember when preparing a nonprofit resume is that your skills and experience is more important than formatting, keywords or career objectives. Employers, whether nonprofit or corporate, are looking for the right candidate for the job and the resume is the first thing that they will see about you. Make sure that it represents you and your interests and you will be on your way to landing a great nonprofit job.

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