A career for a non-profit organization can be rewarding. Being an active part of an agency with a social mission brings many people into the field with a desire to work for a cause that can make a difference. However, in a weak economy jobs in the non-profit sector can be competitive. Recognizing one’s values can help establish which non-profit organizations you may want to work for. It can also help with the job search plan and setting longer-term career goals. Following are some tips if you are considering a non-profit career:
Types of Non-Profits
The traditional non-profit could be characterized as a tax-exempt organization working for a specific cause, service or product that benefits society. These agencies would receive revenue from tax deductible donations and grants. Now there are different shades of non-profits with elements that resemble the private sector. There are hybrids in which a nonprofit and a for-profit are linked with one being a subsidiary of the other bound by long-term contracts. There are also for profit organizations with a dedicated social mission. This diversity of organizations has created new opportunities for different careers in the sector. Establishing one’s values can help to understand the motivation for a non-profit role and where a job seeker’s skills and achievements can do the most good.
Values can be described as what fundamentally makes us who we are and the principles we live by. It can also be what drives people into a career in the non-profit sector and an organization to work for. It is first necessary to do a self-assessment of motivation, skills and abilities. It is a staging point for knowing what you want to do and what positions you may qualify for. It helps to establish what you want to achieve and what career choices to be made. By identifying values an applicant can
- Find an area to focus on in the non-profit sector.
- Develop a plan of action for getting employment in the field.
- Develop a system to accomplish goals.
Once values have been established, you are able to market yourself to potential employers. Job seekers can identify ideal characteristics of positions they seek. They can take the values they identified and see how they match up with organizations they wish to work for. For new job seekers they can express the skills and abilities that make them different from other candidates to a potential employer. For those seeking a career transition, relevant transferable skills can be highlighted to show why they qualify for a position.
Values With the Resume
The purpose of the resume is to market the job seeker as a talented and qualified individual who should be invited to interview. The resume can be constructed based on values that match those of the potential employer. A value statement can answer the question of why they should hire the individual and why they should be interested in them as a potential employee. For example, a statement expressing management skills that can leverage growth and development in an educational institution shows expertise an employer may need. Listing relevant core competencies and showing tangible skills and achievements with previous experience add merit to the resume.
Here are some resume and cover letter samples for the non-profit sector:
- Public Service, Non-Profit and Diplomacy Resume Samples
- Public Service, Non-Profit and Diplomacy Cover Letter Samples
A Better Interview
Job seekers who have identified their values are more comfortable with themselves and their goals. In stressful job interviews, the candidate goes in and engages the interviewer with confidence. They are able to remain authentic. Applicants can establish their character through their presentation and delivery in answering questions. They understand the critical information to be communicated and effectively deliver their message. Prepare to answer questions by having brief stories of experiences with previous employers that relate to the topic. Ask thoughtful questions that will make a positive impression with the employer.
by Matthew Schmidt