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August 14, 2012

Today I wanted to share this short video I came across on the Chronicle of Philanthropy website. It is a short video with brief interviews of three separate managers who offer some helpful advice regarding resumes. I think the most important take away is to express your enthusiasm for the position you are applying for.

Resume Advice from Nonprofit Managers

March 4, 2012

As you begin to put together your resume it is useful to consider the latest trends and advice. Today I want to refer you to a helpful article entitled, “5 Things to Consider When Writing Your Resume.” I found Hank Clark & Rich DeMatteo’s advice useful. I would just add a couple of comments to consider when designing your resume for a position in the nonprofit sector:

Boast about your education — I agree with this point wholeheartedly. Showing yourself as someone who is constantly seeking to improve your skills and knowledge will always be well received in the sector.  One way to boost your knowledge is by taking courses through organizations like CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, the Foundation Center, or University Extension programs focusing on topics such as Nonprofit Management, which can help supplement your knowledge of the field.

List Your Community Service — I would add that you will want to go above and beyond just listing your Community Service. I suggest listing community service as “Volunteer Experience” and include your positions and experience just as you would a past position within your “Professional Experience” section.

Contact Information — I would add that including both your LinkedIn Profile address and your Twitter handle can be useful to round out our professional profile. It is also a simple way to show you are adept at using social media.

The consensus remains mixed on whether or not you should include a “Summary” or “Profile” section on your resume. If you need the real estate on your resume, you can certainly exclude this section and weave your most outstanding accomplishments into the body of your resume. However, a well written Summary section can be just the thing to distinguish yourself from the pile of resumes the hiring manager is wading through. The key is being sure to write a concise, compelling summary that includes information both about what you have accomplished and how you meet the criteria for the job. If you are inclined to write a Summary section, be sure to read this informative posting, A Knockout Resume Summary is Key, from ResumeBear.

So often you will see blog posts about what NOT to do on your resume or things to be sure to avoid. Rarely do you see thoughtful suggestions for what you should DO. I would like to steer your attention to an excellent post by Alison Kuhns of The Execu-Search Group entitled, Resume Writing Advice: the DO’s.  I thought her advice was spot on. One thing I would add for folks who are preparing resumes for the nonprofit sector, is to be sure to include a section for your Volunteer Experience if applicable. Many times the skills you gain through volunteering are transferable and will make you a more attractive candidate to a nonprofit both because you have additional skills and because you have insight into how important volunteer management is for a nonprofit.

Most people want to stand out from the crowd when submitting their resume which is understandable. What baffles me is why one would use common phrases that don’t actually tell a recruiter specifics. For example, stating you are an “agent of change” when applying to a high impact nonprofit without backing it up with proof is not going to impress even if the wording sounds catchy. I encourage you to check out this post, 10 phrases that could Kill your resume, from the website, Interns over 40 for other phrases to avoid.