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How to Write a Resume for Not-for Profit Positions


How to Write a Resume for Not-for Profit PositionsEffective resumes focus on accomplishments, results, or bottom-line impact. Generating revenues as a salesperson, or saving on production costs as an efficiency expert are examples of effective resume content. More examples of positive bottom-line impacts include an administrative assistant that keeps her boss so organized that she is never unprepared for a meeting, or a production floor worker who asked to be cross-trained to contribute to flexible scheduling.

These positions are expected to impact a company’s bottom line. After all, businesses depend on a return on investment. But how does one create a meaningful resume for a position that is publicly funded and does not rely on generating revenue?

Admittedly challenging, these resumes focus more on quality of work than on results. A therapist may not be able to cite that she “cured 12 people last year of a serious eating disorder,” but she may be able to claim “conducted further study in eating disorders, a growing problem in this city, and immediately began seeing some glimmers of success in a few patients.”

Educators are faced with a similar challenge. A teacher may not be able to claim that he “passed 100% of my students” (and that won’t necessarily have impact on a teacher’s resume), but something along the lines of “created a specialized learning plan for special needs student that brought her up two grade levels, on a par with her classmates” will undoubtedly prove the quality of his commitment to his work.

Here are a few key areas in which quality of work can be proven:

Education | On-going Training – As in the example above, many of these positions are in areas with rapidly changing knowledge; keeping on top of current practices is imperative. Whether through formal in-class training, on-line learning platforms, day-long workshops with experts, or through self-study, education is never a waste of your time.

Joining Associations | Participating on Committees – Multi-disciplinary approaches are increasingly common in these sectors. Having participated on a committee that approached a problem from several points of view makes you a valuable resource to the next employer.

Leadership – Leadership is always a sought-after trait. Not sure how to prove your leadership? Express your passion for your line of work by communicating your intense interest and how you take ownership of your job with an entrepreneurial approach.  Add specific quotes from colleagues, superiors, and customers, for example, “I can always count on you to provide the expertise we need”; “I appreciate your expertise on submitting such well-written funding applications”; or, “Your ability to motivate our volunteers is second to none.”

Relationship-building – This term refers to dealing collegially and co-operatively with co-workers as well as with outside clients or stakeholders. It is especially vital in sectors that depend on a contingency of volunteers who must be valued and treated cordially, or that have staff working with people who, due to circumstances, require kindness and compassion. A big picture aspect of relationship building is identifying and fostering community partnerships.

Creativity – No matter where you work, coming up with a new or improved method is always a good thing. Identifying mutually beneficial community partnerships and integrating new methodologies from research and best practices are a few examples.

Proving the quality of one’s work requires more effort than proving results, but it is vital to communicating value in the not-for-profit sector.

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