With more than 1 million nonprofits in the US, nonprofit jobs are as varied as those in the corporate sector. Writing a resume for a nonprofit job is not that different from writing one for any other job. For either sector, your resume should be an easy-to-read, concise summary that shows why your skills and experience make you the best person for that job. Resumes for nonprofit jobs are dependent on the target job and organization. Having a solid and effective resume can greatly improve your chances of landing that dream job. Here are some resume writing tips:
- Research the Organization You are applying to before You create your Resume - Review the organization's website, check out press releases and watch for newspaper and television coverage of the organization. Learn as much as you can about the organization's core values, mission and focus. Once you know how you would benefit the employer if hired, you can highlight your key qualifications and show that you would be an excellent match for the company in your resume.
- Showcase your qualities and strengths and qualify your experience - Try to connect your qualities (e.g., disciplined, creative, problem solver) with real life and work experiences. Back up these qualities and strengths, else it will appear that you are just trying to inflate things. Use data to show exceptional results, such as specific amounts of funds raised or specific operational efficiencies instituted.
- Summarize Your Key Qualifications at the top of the resume - Mention your Career Summary at the head of the resume that outlines your
career goal and most desirable credentials. For example,
10+ years of management experience, including current role as CEO for nonprofit organization. Transformed under-performing nonprofit into thriving, financially successful entity. Advanced skills in staff training and development, community relationship building, employee relations, finance/marketing leadership, and strategy planning.
- Focus on Culture Fit - Nonprofits dont just look at specific skills and qualifications. They are also interested in how a candidate is going to fit within their unique organizational culture. Therefore, a good nonprofit resume will include key personal traits and a connection to the organization's mission as a necessary step in demonstrating culture fit.
- Use the right keywords - Most companies use digital databases to search for candidates. This means that the HR department will run search queries based on specific keywords. If your resume doesn't have the specific keywords related to the job you are applying for, you will be left out even before the game starts. Check the job description for a clue on what the employer might be looking for, and incorporate it into your resume.
- Use effective titles for your profile when you register at job sites - Like it or not, employers will usually make a judgement about your
resume in less than 10 seconds. Under this time frame the most important aspect will be the title that you listed on your job profile and resume,
so make sure they grab the attention. Give the employer a good idea about the nature of your past work experiences. For example:
Bad title:Software Development
Good title: 3+ years of experience building websites using PHP, MySQL, CSS3 and HTML5
- Use bullet points to highlight your skills and experience - No employer will have the time or patience to read long paragraphs of text. Make sure, therefore, to use bullet points to describe your experiences, educational background and professional objectives.
- Mention the benefits of your skills - Merely stating that you can do something will not catch the attention of the employer. If you manage to connect it to tangible results, then you will greatly improve your chances of being selected for an interview.
- Use figures to highlight your achievements - If you are going to describe your past professional achievements, it would be a good idea to make them as solid as possible. Don't merely mention that you increased the annual revenues of your company, say that you increased them by $500,000, by 48%, and so on.
- One resume/cover letter per employer - Do not create a standard resume and send it to all the job openings that you can find. It may save you time, but it will also greatly decrease the chances of landing an interview. Tailor your resume for each employer. Make sure that your resume fits the job description and the goals of the organization.
- Identify the difficulties of the employer - A good way to tailor your resume for a specific employer is to identify what possible problems he might be facing. Try to understand the market of the organization you are applying for a job, and identify what kind of difficulties they might be going through. After that indicate on your resume how you and your skills would help to solve those problems.
- Keep the salary in mind - The image you will create with your resume must match the salary and responsibility level that you are aiming for.