If You Are Applying for a Non-Profit Position

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
POSTED: January 15, 2008 at 1:08 pm

by Darlene Zambruski, CPRW, SME

Generally speaking, positions in the non-profit sector require the same qualifications as do other job openings. That is, related professional experience, academic degrees, and availability to relocate or to travel – to name a few.

However, there are a few areas of expertise that are unique to non-profit. By showcasing your past work history in regards to these areas, you’ll be substantially enhancing your candidacy.

1. GRANT WRITING: Securing funds through grants is one of the paramount duties of a non-profit concern. Although most directors will want someone already skilled in this endeavor, if you have a graduate degree in English, and have researched successful grant proposals, you may want to create some sample grant proposals which you can submit with your resume. By doing this, you may be considered for a support role within the organization.

2. FUND RAISING: An equally important aspect of the non-profit sector. Here, people skills and networking are at a premium. If you are articulate, self-composed, and easily interact with people, mention those skills in your resume – and then support those claims with details from your employment history even if it’s not from a related fund-raising endeavor.

For example: If you’ve been an outstanding sales representative and have won numerous awards, your past performance will enhance your candidacy.

Also, if you have volunteered for community events or have assisted political candidates to reach their goals, showcase this information in the opening summary of your resume.

3. FAMILIARITY WITH 501(c)(3) ACCOUNTING PRACTICES: 501(c)(3) refers to the tax-exempt status for non-profit organizations. Accountants or bookkeepers who are knowledgeable of this are sought out by the non-profit sector.

However, even if you don’t have experience in these accounting practices, by familiarizing yourself with the requirements – or by taking related courses in the subject – you will be advancing your candidacy over others without similar knowledge.

In addition to following the above guidelines, it’s also wise to thoroughly research the organization’s website to determine their non-profit “culture”. Are they conservative? Or are they on the cutting edge and considered hip? Knowing, in advance, the way the organization is structured and the types of individuals that operate it will provide key information for the format and structure of your resume, so that it’s effective and gets noticed.