In the nonprofit world, your resume is what can make the difference between getting an interview and getting thrown into file 13. Your resume must concisely communicate your training, experience, and your education in a way that highlights your strengths and generates increased interest from the employer.
5 Tips For Writing A Nonprofit Resume
Here are five tips for writing a nonprofit resume that can help you get hired:
1. Research The Job And Organization
Don’t submit a generic resume and cover letter — they will get passed over extremely quickly. Instead, be prepared to know as much as possible about the organization before you apply. This involves thinking about their mission, the types of positions at the nonprofit, and the types of projects they’re working on.
What skills would fit in the company well? What skills do you have (particularly if you’re not coming from a nonprofit background) that will translate directly into this organization? Where do you see potential gaps that you could help to fill? The more you know about the group, the more prepared you’ll be to connect their vision with your own.
2. Don’t Get Hung Up On Details
One of the greatest downfalls of many resume writers is that they spend far too much time considering formatting and font and not enough time really evaluating the text content inside the resume. Of course, an employer wants to be able to read through a clean document- but the content within the sections has to wow them, too.
Your resume may need to go through two or three revisions before you’re comfortable sending it out, and that shows that you’ve spent the time targeting this particular position and organization. Don’t lose sight of the fact that the employer will want to dig down into what sets you apart. Make sure you’ve spent enough time summarizing that information efficiently.
3. Clearly Articulate Past Experience
Think about what you did in your previous employment or educational history. Are the terms on your resume adequately describing your job? Are the words popping off of the page to spark increased interest?
To practice this, read your resume sections out loud. Every section listed underneath an employer’s name should highlight specific tasks (in the past tense for those prior employers) and targeted achievements. For example, don’t write that you “brought on more customers”. Reword this by considering ideas like “Fostered new client relationships” or “Improved new business revenue by 25%”. These statements reference the task itself but also the personal achievements you brought to that task. The personal touch is important.
4. Highlight Volunteer Involvement
Although those hiring for the private sector might not be interested in volunteer work, the nonprofit world wants to see how you connect to your community. Most people working for nonprofits are highly committed to the cause. For example, listing volunteer work and how you are giving of your time are ways to stand out from the crowd. It’s appropriate to mention achievements as well as time commitments (in length or in volume). Any past experience in fields or causes related to the nonprofit you’re applying for should be listed first.
5. Don’t Forget The Skills Section
Past experience or lack of education can be overlooked if you can demonstrate mastery of the skills needed to thrive in a nonprofit. For this reason, include a “skills” section on your resume with keywords that link directly to the job itself. Be prepared to expound on these skills during a telephone or in-person interview.
Obtaining employment in the public sector can lead to fulfilling and successful careers doing important work. If you want to get your foot in the door, make sure that your resume is doing the talking for you and communicating your best assets from the get go. Spend the extra time fine-tuning your resume and you will reap the benefits in interviews and offers.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock