Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Writing A Nonprofit Resume

Nonprofits and for-profits seem like they couldn't be more different.  In reality, they are more similar than you think.  The current trend in the sector is for organizations to be run more like a traditional business.  That's why you are seeing more colleges offer degrees in nonprofit management

Differences do still remain, especially when it comes to the hiring process.  This is clearly illustrated when it comes to resume writing.  Although the basic idea is the same, nonprofits will be looking for slightly different attributes than a for-profit company.  If you really want to catch the eye of your favorite organization, you are going to need to know how to write the ideal nonprofit resume.

  • If you have previously worked in the for-profit sector, make sure you identify how your skills in that field can be adapted to the nonprofit world.  A great example of this can be found in this sample resume posted by Bridgestar.  Notice how the applicant emphasizes skills like marketing, management, and leadership?  These are all things that are useful for nonprofits.
  • Also note that the above resume separates the applicants nonprofit experience from her for-profit work.
  • Volunteer work is usually considered irrelevant when writing a resume for a standard corporation.  This is hardly the case for nonprofits.  If you have any experience volunteering, make sure you list it in your employment history.
  • The above applies if you have ever served on a board or committee before.
  • Make sure you remove any jargon that might be unfamiliar to those outside of the corporate bubble.  Your language should be professional, but you shouldn't use language that is only relevant to those in your previous field.  You will be dealing with many different backgrounds if you work in the nonprofit sector, so there is no need to try and impress people with your vocabulary.
  • You should emphasize your ability to do many different jobs.  Though it's not always the case, most nonprofits will not fill their employees into specialized roles.  This is especially true the smaller the organization is.
  • As I mentioned in the opening, you shouldn't hesitate to emphasize any business management experience you have. 
This might seem a little overwhelming, but you will soon find it's not a big deal to re-work your resume for the nonprofit sector.  They might be very different from for-profits, but they aren't so different that none of your previous skills won't be transferrable.


  1. Candidates often intentionally miss out their Volunteer work. It also has good impact on the resume. It should not be overlooked.

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  3. Wow, You have shared great description about all topics which are must be include in our resume like accomplishments, experience, education, and skills etc... So thanks for sharing

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  7. This kind of resume somehow differs when it comes to the content. People who don't have enough knowledge about resume writing should ask for help, instead of searching for online references. The resume writing Edmonton is always available and can help you with your non-profit resume as well.

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  11. As concern as writing non-profit resume you need to remove any jargon that might be unfamiliar to those outside of the corporate bubble. Your language should be professional, but you shouldn't use language that is only relevant to those in your previous field and hopefully in this way you get the response letter for interview invitation and you get selected for the job.

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  13. There were so many mistakes in my own resume, thanks a lot for this article, I'll try to fix my mistake and avoid them in future

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