Tips to Land a Job with Non-profits
Landing a job with a non-profit is different. Keep reading to find the top job search tips from our non-profit career experts.
If you're looking for a job with a nonprofit organization, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of landing the position you want. The process of finding a job at a nonprofit can be different from finding a job in the private sector, though. To help you in your search, we've put together some tips on how to find a job at a nonprofit. We'll cover everything from what kinds of experience nonprofits are looking for to how to best market yourself for a position.
Research the Organization.
Nonprofits are organizations that are mission-driven and often have a strong focus on social good. Before applying to any nonprofit, make sure you have a good understanding of its mission and what they do. You can usually find this information on their website or by doing a quick Google search. Once you know more about the organization and what they stand for, you can tailor your resume and cover letter to show how your skills and experience align with their needs.
Create or Update Your Resume
A resume is simply a marketing piece for the job you want. This means that most people need to build a resume specific to non-profits. You should do this by shifting the focus from reporting what you did in the prior roles and translating that to the jobs you want with not-for-profits.
For example, if you managed a team of salespeople in your previous role, highlight the teamwork, leadership, and communication skills you used to successfully lead your team. These are transferable skills that will be relevant in any work environment—for profit or nonprofit. Want help updating your resume? Professional resume writers like those at The Contingent Plan would love to help.
Network, Network, Network
Your professional network can be a great resource when searching for jobs, especially if you're interested in working for a specific nonprofit. Talk to people you know who work or have worked for nonprofits and see if they have any advice or recommendations. They may even know someone at the organization you're interested in who could put in a good word for you.In addition to talking to people you know, don't forget to utilize online networking tools like LinkedIn. Many nonprofit organizations post job openings on LinkedIn, so it's worth spending some time on the platform to see what's out there.
Highlight Relevant Experience.
When applying for jobs with nonprofits, it's important to highlight any relevant experience you may have, even if it's from the private sector. For example, if you've volunteered with a nonprofit in the past or have done fundraising work, be sure to mention these experiences on your resume and in your cover letter. These types of experiences will show potential employers that you understand the nonprofit landscape and have the skillset required to be successful in the role.
Update Your Cover Letter
The cover letter should also be built for the non-profit. The cover letter shouldn't repeat your resume, instead, it should tell the story beyond your resume. This means explaining why you want to make the leap to this not-for-profit and why you think your skills translate.
And, it is important to explain how you align with the mission of the non-profit. The hiring committee will review this cover letter and they are most interested in someone that fits their culture and values. Thus, you should be clear in your cover letter on this point. You can do this directly with examples or by connecting the mission of the non-profit with your personal values or perspectives. Want help crafting the perfect non-profit cover letter? Professional writers like those at The Contingent Plan would love to help.
Demonstrate Your Skills
Non-profits of all sizes are looking for people that bring value to their mission and culture. The funds are limited and these organizations are always looking for ways to do more with less. This means that they are looking at candidates to show their skills in the hiring process.
Saying you are detailed on the resume is one thing, but communicating a detail in your interview or in the offer negotiations takes you to the next level. Make sure that you are showcasing these strengths at each step of your experience with the non-profit to ensure that you stand out as a candidate.
Prepare for Common Interview Questions
In addition to updating your resume and cover letter, it's also important to prepare for common interview questions. Be ready to discuss why you're interested in working for a nonprofit and what qualifications you have that make you a good fit for the organization.
You should also be prepared to talk about any challenges you might face in making the transition from for-profit to nonprofit work. By thinking through these questions ahead of time, you'll be able to give thoughtful, concise answers during your interview—impressing potential employers and increasing your chances of landing the job. Want to make sure that you do the best you can in your next interview? Interview prep coaches that specialize in non-profit careers like those at The Contingent Plan could make a huge difference. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation.
Keep in mind that most job searches take time. This is particularly true when switching to the non-profit world. Don't get discouraged if you don't hear back from an organization right away or if you don't land your dream job on the first try. With persistence and a little bit of luck, you'll eventually join the perfect nonprofit organization for you.
By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to landing a job with a nonprofit organization that is aligned with your skills and experience. Remember to do your research, utilize your network, and highlight any relevant experiences when applying for positions. With a little effort, you'll be sure to find the perfect fit!