Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jobless Claims Fall As Job Market Gains Momentum

The job maket continues to gain momentum as we inch closer to 2012, with Reuters reporting that jobless claims have hit a 3 1/2 year low.

The Labor Department said the number of Americans who have filed for unemployment benefits dropped 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 364,000, the lowest number since April 2008.  This comes on the heels of a report last week that claims had fell to 366,000, the lowest since May 2008.  It's certainly great to see the economy gaining momentum as the New Year approaches.

The question now is whether this trend of good news will continue when we hit 2012.  Fighting in Washington over a payroll tax cut and extension of unemployment benefits loom large, and job market prospects will likely hinge on the outcome of those battles.  In the mean time, enjoy the good news and keep up the job search!  Here's a new featured job we posted today to help out:

  • Director for Development (FEATURED JOB): Serve as the Chief Development Officer (CDO) leading the college’s fundraising efforts. The Director will be responsible for generating new revenue, achieving annual fundraising goals, and developing relationships and partnerships with internal and external constituencies. In addition, s/he will be responsible for overseeing and directing the College's Foundation, and will work collaboratively with the Foundation’s Board to strategize and orchestrate methods of approach in the development of corporate, employee, private, and other charitable giving.

Fighting Career Roadblocks

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to discover that the job search is a tough road to travel.  You don't have to get very far into your search before you encounter some serious career roadblocks.  Some of these are out of your control; a lack of jobs available at your level of expertise, for example.  But there are other roadblocks that you can conquer with the proper preparation.  The key is to identify the obstacles before you reach them.

Here are some of the common roadblocks you will encounter:
  • Planning.  Too many job seekers don't have a good idea of what their goals are before they start their search.  It's one thing to know what kind of job you want.  It's a totally different story to know how you want to go about getting it.
  • Skills.  It's not enough to have only one or two career skills in this job market.  Start your job hunt by finding some avenues for continued professional development.  This could be through continuing education courses or, if money is an issue, volunteering to gain experience.
  • Networks.  Finding the right career network contacts can prove difficult.  The thing to remember is quality over quantity.  It's better to have only a handful of reliable contacts than countless references who don't help you.
  • Money.  You might come to a point where you have to choose between a job that pays you more but doesn't completely satisfy your needs, and one that pays less but is more in line with what you want to do.  It's easy to say to pick the job that makes you most happy, but this can be difficult depending on your situation.  Make a conscious effort to decide what is most important to you before you get to this point.
  • Paralysis by analysis.  It's easy to over think when looking for work.  You don't need to completely overhaul your efforts if your first few job applications are not successful.  You should only think about what might be holding you back if you are consistently unsuccessful over a long period (say, a month).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

COPD Foundation Jobs

We just posted a number of jobs from the COPD Foundation, located in Washington, DC.  Here's one of them, plus a couple of other listings:

  • Campaign Director: The Campaign Director will be in charge of the COPD Foundation's Drive4COPD Campaign.  The chosen applicant will work with NASCAR, the Country Music Association, and many others to promote the work of the COPD Foundation during this multi-year national branding and awareness campaign.  Will be responsible for directing staff, partners, and consultants to organize events and programs to tie in new and existing Foundation efforts, that increase COPD awareness, health screening and Foundation support. Report directly to Executive Director in new DC office space (Metro-access Union Station location). Expected salary range $100k+, commensurate with experience.
  • President & CEO (FEATURED JOB): The Bridge Street Development Corporation is looking for a new President & CEO.  Responsibilities include: Working with the Board of Directors, Senior Staff, and community stakeholders to fund programs and partnerships that build community strengths; promoting the organization's values and vision; leading senior team to develop strategic plans.
  • Area Director of Development: With the Area Director of Health Initiatives, and in consultation with peers in Communications and Government Relations and Advocacy and the office Administrative Specialist, manage the operations of office location(s), including direct or indirect supervision of support staff and oversight of the facility, as well as direct supervision of Community Executives, Development. As a team, effectively represent the Society and its mission in the community. Hire, train, and manage location Community Executives, Development to ensure the achievement of fundraising goals. Supervisory responsibilities include recruitment and hiring, orienting and training of new staff members in their roles, goal-setting and performance management utilizing the Society’s Performance Management Process and including employee development planning, and employee relations and dispute resolution (with assistance from Division Human Resources staff as appropriate).

Leaving An Effective Phone Message

Even with all the different ways to contact employers, the telephone is still one of the most effective methods available.  Nothing can replace the certainty that comes with hearing the inflection of a person's voice.  It helps eliminate those "What do they mean by that?" questions.  But what happens if nobody picks up the phone?

Leaving a phone message for an employer remains one of the most difficult things for a job seeker.  It's all too easy to stumble on your words or go off on long tangents.  The key to a successful voicemail is to leave it short and sweet.  Recruiters are very busy people, and they don't have the time or patience to listen to long-winded messages.  Here are the only things you need to include in a voicemail:
  • Your name (twice-once at the beginning and once at the end).
  • Your phone number (repeated twice at the end, slowly).
  • A reminder of your previous interaction with the individual.
  • A reiteration of your interest in the job.
  • A pleasant closing.
You also need to make sure to keep an upbeat tone throughout the message.  Practice it beforehand to make sure you don't drift into a monotone.  Trust me, there's no better way to bore a listener then sounding bored yourself.  When the recruiter comes back to your name as a possible candidate, you want them to remember you in a positive light.

Have any other tips for a great voicemail?  Let us know in the comments section.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nonprofit Jobs Of The Day

Here are today's top nonprofit jobs:

  • Area Director of Development: With the Area Director of Health Initiatives, and in consultation with peers in Communications and Government Relations and Advocacy and the office Administrative Specialist, manage the operations of office location(s), including direct or indirect supervision of support staff and oversight of the facility, as well as direct supervision of Community Executives, Development. As a team, effectively represent the Society and its mission in the community. Hire, train, and manage location Community Executives, Development to ensure the achievement of fundraising goals.
  • Managing Director: The Managing Director of The Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Greensburg is responsible to direct, manage, and oversee major gifts, planned giving, capital campaigns, endowment development programs, and supervise the areas of the Diocesan Lenten Appeal and stewardship education. The Managing Director is a member of the Bishop’s Cabinet, and supervises the staff of The Catholic Foundation.
  • President & CEO: Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia, Inc. (HOME), a 40-year old nonprofit advocacy organization serving the Commonwealth of Virginia, seeks a talented President & CEO. With central offices in Richmond, HOME works closely with local and state governments, citizens, corporate and philanthropic partners to make America’s promise of equal treatment in housing a reality, ensuring that every person has the opportunity to live in the housing and neighborhood of their choice.

Accepting A Job Offer: What Now?

You've finally done it: You got a job offer from the nonprofit you always wanted to work for, and you'll be starting any day now.  Surely all your work is over, right?  Wrong.

Once you've accepted a job offer from an organization, you have a couple of more things you need to do.  First off, you should send a thank-you letter to the organization.  The next step to take will be to inform other nonprofits that were considering you that you have accepted a job elsewhere.  But is there any scenario that exists where you don't have to let them know?

Depending on how far along you were in the process you were with an organization, it isn't totally necessary to let them know you have taken another job.  If you haven't yet been chosen as a finalist in the interview process, there is no need to contact them after you've accepted another job.  Once you get beyond that point, you must let them know.  You have to leave a positive impression so that you have a potential landing spot should your new job not work out.  Here are some other things to keep in mind when letting an employer know your taking another job:

  • You don't need to share why you are accepting the job offer.  Simply tell them you have made your final decision, thank them for their consideration, and ask them to withdraw you from the interview process.
  • Even though your decision is firm, let the employer know you look forward to possibly doing business with them at some point in the future.  Say something like this: "Your company is top notch and I do hope that our paths will cross sometime in the future."
  • Don't get involved in a bidding war.  This will leave both organizations feeling manipulated.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Just In Time For The Holidays: Featured Nonprofit Jobs!

We have an early Christmas present for all of you job seekers out there: Two new featured nonprofit jobs!  Both of them are high level executive jobs at very well known organizations.  Let's start with the first one, shall we?
  • Director of Business and Operations (FEATURED JOB): The Salvation Army of Salem Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center of Salem, OR is looking for a director of business operations.  This individual will lead the overall operations of the center and will play a central role in improving the quality of life of members.  He/she will lead the management team in development and execution of programs, rentals, operations, and marketing.  The chosen candidate must understand facility and plant management, have high standards of professionalism, and should be comfortable working in a Christian work environment.
  • Chief Executive Officer (FEATURED JOB): The YWCA of the City of New York is seeking a new Chief Executive Officer to lead the organization.  The CEO will provide strategic leadership for the organization, improve and extend popular programs, and ensure the organization's fiscal viability and growth.  Ideal candidate will have proven success leading a nonprofit organization, the ability to work efficiently with other people (especially with a volunteer board of directors), and an established record of fundraising success.
  • Senior Director of Development for Colleges and Programs: Live in the Delaware area?  The University of Delaware is looking for a highly motivated individual to be their next Senior Director of Development for Colleges and Programs.  This position is responsible for managing fundraising activity, especially major gifts.  This activity includes identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of major gift donors.  The chosen candidate will report to the Associate Vice President of University Development.  Must have a strong background in fundraising.

Personal Branding Techniques

Here's a question for the job seekers: How strong is your personal brand?

Personal Branding is a description of the process that job hunters go through to brand themselves and their careers.  If an employer reads your resume and immediately associates your name with a set of career skills, you will have accomplished your goal.  To get the most out of your branding efforts, you are going to have to make extensive use of social media.  Here are some techniques to help you increase your virtual visibility:

  • Tweet, Tweet, Tweet: Twitter is going to be your best friend during your branding efforts.  The ability to send out quick, and to-the-point messages to your followers will help solidify your expertise.  You can also use it to link to any articles or blogs you have written.  Make sure to use sites like to track how many clicks you get.
  • Write Articles: There are a lot of article writing sites out there, so take advantage of them.  These sites can help improve your visibility on search engines.  This will be a great help if employers Google your name during the screening process.  You should also consider starting a blog in addition to writing articles.
  • Track Your Efforts: The Internet contains plenty of tools to help track your efforts.  I already mentioned as way to see how many people are clicking your links, but you can also use programs like TweetBeep to track who is mentioning you on Twitter.   You should also sign up for Google Alerts for your name.  Google Alerts send you e-mails when your name shows up in search engines.  It's a great way to see what people are saying about you.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Writing A Great Nonprofit Job Description

Cross-Posted From The NonProfit Times Blog

Is your nonprofit interested in posting a job with our online career center?  Great!  But before you get started, you must know how to write a nonprofit job description that will attract potential candidates.

Some employers make the mistake of believing that describing a job is as simple as saying what the position entails.  That's part of the equation, but the best job descriptions offer a lot more than that.  If you are going to attract the top job seekers, you are going to have to get way more in-depth about your job.  Before you start writing, gather some employees in the organization who are familiar with the position in question.  They will be able to best tell you the kinds of characteristics that an ideal candidate should possess.  The biggest mistake you can make is assuming the applicant knows the kind of personality they need to possess for the job.  Information like this should go in the "requirements" section of your job posting.

Finally, there is the issue of length.  How long is too long?  It's a hard question to answer, but it's a balance you are going to have to strike.  If you submit a job posting that is too long, you run the risk of job seekers missing important information.  Your description must be concise and easy to read.  Consider using bullet points to highlight the most important information, or bolding important words.  Whatever you do, avoid what I like to call "walls of text."  You've probably seen what I'm referring to: It's those really long paragraphs that never seem to have any breaks.  Make sure you are including paragraph breaks in your posting!

To view samples of typical nonprofit job posting, visit our job search page and see what other organizations have done.

Resume Editing Tips

There comes a point in the life of every job seeker when they need to re-write their resume.  Maybe you aren't getting sufficient responses to your job applications or maybe you just feel like it's time to change things up.  Whatever the reason, you should make sure you follow proper resume editing guidelines before you get started.

Spelling and grammar are two of the most important things to check over when re-doing your resume, but you should also pay attention to stylistic issues.  What kind of font are you using?  It should be something readable and eye-catching.  That's why sticking with your word processor's default font (usually Times New Roman) is not the best of ideas.  There's only so many times a hiring manager can see that style before the words start to blur together.  Try using a font like Arial, which is easy to read and comes out cleanly in a fax or photocopy.  Feel free to be even more creative, but avoid crazy fonts.  Apologies to fans of Comic Sans.

You should next look at the layout of your resume content.  How are you listing your job descriptions?  You should make sure they are listed with the job title first.  For example:

Director of Marketing: Generic Marketing Organization, Inc, April 2007-Present

Some variation of that style is likely to get you the most success.  Remember, it's most important that recruiters know what kind of work you did before everything else.  When writing the descriptions of each job, you should use active verbs to describe your accomplishments.  So instead of saying "Responsible for developing marketing strategies" you should say "Developed marketing strategies."  Using an active verb format makes gives the reader a stronger sense of what you achieved.

Here are some final tips:
  • If you don't have a lot of nonprofit work experience, lead with your education.
  • List your contact information in large, bold font at the top of your resume.  Don't assume the employer will get your information from your cover letter.
  • List all your skills that apply to nonprofit work.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Report: Unemployment Benefit Applications Fall

In a sign that layoffs are declining, the number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell to 366,000 according to a report in The Washington Post.  This marks the lowest it has been since May 2008. But will this good news translate into stronger hiring numbers?

There is no question that there have been some improvement in hiring, as the November Jobs Report showed, but it remains to be seen whether this latest news will bring an even greater boost to the job market.  We certainly hope that will happen in the coming weeks.  In the mean time, you can look at these recent nonprofit jobs to speed up your job search:
  • Aministrative Analyst II at East Bay Regional Park District: East Bay Regional Park District seeks candidate with knowledge of non-profit accounting activities, grant proposals, budget monitoring & administration, along with contract management to work with our Regional Parks Foundation. The candidate will routinely perform financial analysis, preparing written reports and recommendations to management. Strong analytical, writing and editing skills are desirable.
  • Service Manager at Values Into Action: A start up organization supporting people with intellectual disabilities is seeking competent and confident leaders with proven track records in providing exceptional customer service through the effective supervision of staff and the comprehensive coordination of resources designed to help people live safely and happily in their own homes and communities.
  • Fund Development Director at Prima Civitas Foundation: The Prima Civitas Foundation (PCF) based in East Lansing, Michigan seeks an experienced, highly motivated Fund Development Director to create, lead, and implement a comprehensive relationship-based funding sustainability program. A successful candidate will use innovative, nontraditional methods of increasing the organization’s financial portfolio while expanding its programming and ensuring all foundation efforts are aligned with its mission.

Signs Of Job Search Anxiety

The job search is a great test for your self-esteem.  After a number of rejections, even the strongest willed person is bound to feel some doubt.  Questions like "Am I doing this right?" or "What's wrong with me?" start to fill your mind.  If you don't learn to fight back against these feelings, you'll find it very hard to continue applying for jobs.  In order to properly fight back against feelings of anxiety and depression, it's important to recognize the signs:
  • Avoidance of favorite activities
  • Increasing feelings of irritability
  • Lack of motivation
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Trouble getting out of bed in the morning
  • Extended periods of sadness or anger
  • Assuming the worst in any situation
If you are starting to feel some or all of these symptoms while looking for work, you need to take a step back and fight them before continuing any further.  Here are some helpful tips to keep yourself positive:
  • As long as you are doing your best, there is no reason to beat yourself about the process.  Remind yourself that most everybody is going through the same thing these days.
  • If the job hunt is getting too stressful, consider taking a day off from it.  Spend that day doing things that make you feel better about yourself.  This will help refresh you when you start up again.
  • As bad as things seem, feeling sorry for yourself won't help your situation.  As The Boston Globe wrote, companies are actually hiring.  Just because you have not had success yet doesn't mean it won't come.  Maybe you'll look back on those rejections someday and realize that it was for the best.
  • Remember that it's not as personal as it seems.  It may feel like a job reaction is a personal assault against your character.  It could just be that there was someone just a little more qualified than you.  I am a firm believer that good things will come if you have ultimate confidence in your talents.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

More Museum Jobs

It seems like we've had a number of museum jobs recently.  Last week, one of our featured nonprofit jobs was a museum developer position in Islamorada, Florida.  And this week, another museum position has opened up.  This one is being recruited by The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA.  Let's take a look at the details of this job and others:

  • Executive Director at The National Civil War Museum: This is the position mentioned above.  The Executive Director will report to the museum's Board of Directors, and will be responsible for overall development of the museum.  The accepted candidate will also be in charge of planning activities and operations through museum staff.  Must have a Bachelor's Degree in a related field, and a minimum of 8 years of progressive management experience.  I've been to this museum in the past, and it's pretty amazing.  It would seem to be a great opportunity for anybody who has a passion for management and the Civil War.
  • Manager of Development/Planned Giving at American Diabetes Association: Do you have a passion for fundraising and want to have a career that impacts people in your community?  Then this position is perfect for you.  The American Diabetes Association, located in Alexandria, VA, is looking for an experienced planned giving/fundraising professional.  The ideal candidate will have 5 to 7 years of gift planning experience, as well as comparable experience in legal or financial fields.  Must be able to identify, cultivate, and solicit new deferred and life income gifts through a variety of means, including face-to-face visits.
  • Executive Director at OneAmerica: One of the largest immigration advocacy organizations, OneAmerica is searching for a new Executive Director.  Working with staff and the Board of Directors, this individual will act as lead fundraiser for the Seattle, WA-based organization.  In addition, the accepted candidate will serve as chief spokesperson and strategist, so having excellent communication skills is a must.  Follow the link for this job to find out more details, including compensation.

Choosing A Phone Interview Time

Have you ever been asked to do a phone interview?  It's important to prepare for this type of job interview even if they don't happen all the time.  The concept sounds easy enough: Instead of having your every one of your body and facial expressions judged in a place you've never been before, you can be relaxed in the comfort of your own home.  How hard can it be?

There are many potential pitfalls that come with a telephone interview.  One of those issues is time.  When an employer first brings up the possibility of a phone interview, they will ask you the following question: "What time is good for you?"  The instinct for most job seekers would be to schedule it as soon as possible.  Some people would even agree to do it that same day.  There's nothing wrong with this if you are already prepared, but don't be afraid to ask for more time if you need it.

This can be easier said than done.  While some employers will be willing to give you the time you need to prepare, there are times when delaying the interview can cost you the job.  If you get this sense, ask if they can call you back in a few minutes so you have time to get all of your prep materials together.  Just make sure you are prepared as possible.

Do you have any experiences with phone interviews you'd like to share?  Feel free to post them in the comments section.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Important Hiring Tips

Cross Posted From The Nonprofit Job Seeker

Although jobs may be scarce in this economy, this doesn't mean that job candidates are going to take the first position that is offered to them. This economy could make people more picky than normal. Because times are tough, they are going to not only want a position that pays well, but also one in which they feel comfortable. If you are going to attract the best candidates for your nonprofit job, you would do well to follow these five hiring tips:

  • As I have mentioned in the past, make sure the description in your job listing is informative yet concise. This is a hard balance to strike, but it can be done. The key to reaching this balance is to use specifics. The more the applicant knows about the position, the less chance you will get resumes from unqualified candidates.
  • When you conduct an interview, make sure you allow time for the person to say what they want out of the position. It's all well and good to explain what you are looking for in an ideal employee, but you should make sure that the candidate can express their expectations as well. This is helpful because it establishes that this will be a job where the employee's views are important. And that is an important factor when people decide where they want to work.
  • Just because someone performs well in an interview doesn't mean they will be the right fit for your organization. Test your applicant's skills to see if they are up to the task. How you do this depends on the type of job you are looking to fill. If you are looking to hire a web content editor, for example, you can have them take a writing test after the interview. If you mention that you will be performing writing tests in your application, this has the added benefit of weeding out less serious candidates.
  • Your office should be tidy at all times, but make sure it is especially presentable during the interview. And I'm not just referring to your desk; the entire office should look as impressive as possible. A relaxing workplace makes for a better working environment, and that will be on the top of the list of things top candidates will be looking for.
Interviews can be very tiresome, especially if you have already been through many that day. Still, you are going to have to find some way to remain engaging to your prospective employee. There is no bigger turn off than an interviewer who seems uninterested. So even if you have to take an extra shot of coffee, make sure you are friendly and lively when you interview a job candidate.

Evaluating Résumé Length

Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager for a second.  You receive countless résumés every single day, and need to read every single one carefully.  Now think about what you might feel if you came across a resume of more than three pages.

There was a time when it was not unusual for resume length to be very long, but those days have passed.  A modern résumé should be no longer than three pages.  Any more than that and you risk getting placed in the "rejected" pile.  Although boring an employer is part of the problem, a long résumé will also make you seem long-winded.  And if you are applying for a job like a grant writer, it's even more important to show you can be concise.

You need to be concise, but that doesn't mean you can simply shorten your résumé and call it a day.  You are going about this the wrong way if all you do is list your previous work experience.  In a previous blog post, I wrote about things you need to include in your nonprofit résumé.  You should look over that post to see what you absolutely need to include before you start cutting things left and right.  The most important thing to remember is to tailor your resume to the job you are applying.  Cut out anything that holds no relevance to the position.

As for the final length of your résumé, it all depends on your level of experience.  Use the following guidelines to help you:
  • College graduate: No more than one page.
  • Moderately experienced worker (5+ years): No more than two pages.
  • Extremely experienced worker (15+ years): No more than three pages.
If you want even more résumé advice, be sure to check out the career resources section on The Nonprofit Jobseeker.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Want A Nonprofit Technology Job?

Technology has a permanent place in our society.  It seems like everyday brings us some new device that is going to totally change our lives.  So it should come as no surprise that nonprofits are constantly looking for employees that are technology-savvy.  Today's list of nonprofit jobs is highlighted by a job that involves the web.  Interested?  Then read on:

  • Director, Web Strategy and Operations: Are you passionate about digital media and live in the DC area?  Then The American Council on Education (ACE) wants you!  The Director of Web Strategy and Operations collaborates with ACE decision makers to plan, implement, measure, and evolve the Council’s web and digital communications strategies; as well as leads the team responsible for day-to-day operational support of web content, branding/design, analytics, and customer service.  Must have a wealth of online experience, including 10 years of experience overseeing a web strategy and operations team, an established online network (LinkedIn, etc), and a strong understanding of social media in general.
  • Development Officer: The Development Officer is responsible for planning and implementing a variety of fundraising strategies to secure financial support for Doctors Community Hospital. You’ll be supporting fundraising programs at Doctors Community Hospital Foundation by developing acquisition programs to cultivate and solicit potential donors, as well as recognize and retain current contributors.
  • Manager, Major Donor Communications: The Wildlife Conservation Society, located in Bronx, NY, is looking for an experienced development professional to help write, develop, and edit Major Gift and Planned Giving materials.  Must have a B.S./B.S./B.B.A in Communications, Marketing, Public Affairs, Literature, or a related field, and minimum three years experience in a development, communications or marketing role.

The "Tell Me About Yourself" Interview Question

"So, tell me about yourself."

If you just sat down for a job interview, chances are this is the first question you will be asked.  Not that it's unique to job interviews.  You hear it asked all the time in many different situations, whether it's a first date, or just meeting someone for the first time.  And it's a difficult question to answer in any of these situations.

This is such a hard question because it presents you with an unstructured situation.  You have to be confident enough in yourself to articulately explain the best qualities about yourself.  In short, it's the best way for an employer to get a first impression.  And we all know that first impressions are everything.  Now that you know why it's asked, you're probably wondering about the best ways to answer it.

To be honest, there are a lot of right ways to answer the "tell me about yourself" question.  I want to focus on the wrong way to answer it.  The worst thing you can do with this question is respond with something like this: "What do you want to know?"  This will show the interviewer that you are not prepared for the interview or, even worse, that you aren't confident in what you have to say.  You should spend a lot of your interview preparation time developing an answer that best explains what it is that makes you a good candidate for the job.  If you can do that successfully, you will have no problem answering this question.

If you want to learn more about interview questions, be sure to check out this article from The Nonprofit Jobseeker.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Busy Employees Are Happy Employees

Cross Posted From The NPTimes Blog

If you sat a few employees down in a room and told them that they would be doing less work but receiving the same pay, what do you think their reaction would be?  Jumping for joy, right?  Wrong.

In an article on The Nonprofit Jobseeker, NPT's home for nonprofit jobs, we learn that employees are most happy when they are busy.  This is according to a recent report by Sirota Survey Intelligence, a Purchase, N.Y.-based research company.  This flies in the face of what some bosses might think.  Wouldn't employees like having less stress on a daily basis?  It turns out that most workers would prefer to accomplish as much as possible during a given day, rather than just getting by on their job.

This makes all the sense in the world, especially when you apply it to nonprofit organizations.  One of the big attractions of working at an NPO is getting the chance to do work that can make a difference for a cause.  Why wouldn't a nonprofit employee want to be accomplishing more for a cause they presumably care about?  The survey results indicate that "Overworked people, in a sense, are getting feedback from the organization that their contributions are important.”

The results also make sense from a practical standpoint.  What would you rather be doing during a long workday?  Having a lot to do, or sitting on your hands doing nothing?  Make sure to read the full article on the Nonprofit Jobseeker.

E-Mail Etiquette For Your Job Search

E-mail has become the dominant form of communication for the job search.  Although there are times when making a phone call is more appropriate, most employers prefer to receive e-mails from job seekers.  As simple as it is to send a job application e-mail, there are some pitfalls.  All of these can be avoided by following e-mail etiquette.

I've already gone over in a previous blog post that you should never send an e-mail from your personal account.  You should create a separate e-mail address so that it is easier to keep track of your correspondences.  But beyond that suggestion, there are some other things you should keep in mind.  One of the most common problems that I have seen is creating an acceptable e-mail subject line.  Job seekers will too often write something like "regarding your job posting."  That is not nearly specific enough.  An example of a good subject line would include the exact name of the position.  For example:

  • Fundraising Director Position, OR
  • Fundraising Director Position, [your name here]
Another suggestion is to include an e-mail signature at the end of your message.  Most programs--whether it's Outlook or Gmail--give you the option to include your name and contact information at the end of all your communications.  This is a much better solution than putting your contact information somewhere in the e-mail body.  Remember to include all methods of contact in your signature.  This includes your cell and home phone number.  You should also consider including a link to your LinkedIn profile.

Finally, you should pay close attention to your salutation.  If you don't know the name of the person, write "To whom it may concern" instead of something like "Hello."  Use Mr. or Ms. if you know their name.  Do not under any circumstances use their first name.  Have any more suggestions that I missed?  Leave them in the comments section.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Museum Developer Highlights Today's Top Nonprofit Jobs

If you missed today's webinar by Zurich and The NonProfit Times, stay tuned to our online library for the full slides and audio.  And while you are waiting for that, check out today's top nonprofit jobs from our career center:

  • Museum Developer (FEATURED JOB): The Historical Trust, located in Islamorada, Florida, is looking for a museum developer to help with the development of their upcoming History of the Florida Keys museum, which is scheduled to be completed in July of 2012.  This will be an 8 month contract, and applicants should have a strong background in museum curation.  Apply on our career center, and e-mail for more information.
  • Director of Individual and Major Gifts: Here's a great job for anybody that has an extensive background in fundraising.  This position is being offered by Give Kids The World, located in Kissimmee, Florida.  The chosen candidate will be responsible for developing new relations with individuals and families throughout the world.  They will meet with donors to cultivate and solicit for annual fund and capital campaign, emphasizing $10,000+, cultivates and solicits planned gifts. More than 50% of time will be spent visiting with and cultivating prospects in-person. Apply today to start advancing your career in fundraising!

Online Reputation: How Does It Affect Your Job Search?

We live in an age where nearly everything we do is done online.  Want to talk to some old friends?  Log in to Facebook and get caught up.  Don't feel like going out for food?  You can order pizza on the Internet.  And nothing is more online-centric these days than the job search.

Employers also use the Internet for their research of candidates.  By simply Googling a prospective employee, they can find out almost everything they need to know.  What they see can speak volumes and, whether it's fair or not, you will be judged based on your online reputation.  Reputation management has become a big thing these days, but there's no need to pay money present a cleaner image of yourself.  You can do it all on your own.  Here are some tips:
  • Do a Google search of your name.  If you ever made any "unfortunate" comments on Internet message boards, they will likely come up in the results.  This is your chance to get rid of them.
  • Delete all embarrassing photos of yourself on Facebook.  If they are simply too good to get rid of, you can adjust your privacy settings so that only people in your network can see certain aspects of your profile.  Then again, that could raise suspicion...
  • On a similar note, get rid of Tweets on your Twitter account that could be considered offensive.
  • Make sure that whatever picture you use on your social media pages is presentable.  You obviously aren't going to use one of those embarrassing pictures we talked about, but it shouldn't be a low quality picture either.  If you don't have a really good one, have someone take a new one.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New Jersey Nonprofit To Create 800 New Jobs

On the heels of the good job news from last month, one New Jersey nonprofit expects to create twice the number of jobs as originally envisioned.

According to a report in The Asbury Park Press, the New Jersey Technology Solutions Center estimates it will be able to create 800 to 1,000 new jobs over the next five years.  That's a far cry from the 200 to 300 positions the center was originally expected to create when it launched last year.  It's also a dose of good news for an organization that had an uncertain future after earmarks--a major source of funding for the center--were discontinued by Congress earlier this year.

The new jobs are expected to arrive once the nonprofit receives contracts in a number of areas, including engineering, software development, management, and business development.  If all of these new jobs are created as predicted, it will go along way towards making up for the loss of 5,000 high-technology jobs when Fort Monmouth, one of the army's installations in Monmouth County, closed earlier this fall. These jobs will not only get people much needed employment, but are also expected to pour millions of dollars into the local economy by 2017.

Read The Asbury Park Press story for more information.  You should also be sure to check out our career center for other New Jersey nonprofit jobs.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 12/06/2011

Christmas is fast approaching, which also means we are heading closer to 2012.  January has traditionally been the strongest month for hiring, though you never know what will happen with the current state of the economy.  Share your holiday job search plans with us!  And in the mean time, check out these great jobs to start (or continue) your nonprofit career:

  • Grants Systems Administrator: Located at South Carolina Edison (SCE), this position is ideal for those interested in taking a more automated approach to grant requests.  Applicants should have some experience as an administrator of a grant making system, in addition to plenty of technical experience.  Must also have a Bachelor’s degree in Information Systems or related field or an equivalent combination of formal education, training, and experience.
  • Director, Strategic Development and Partnerships: BoardSource is actively searching for a new director of strategic development and partnerships.  This position works with  the vice president of Strategic Development & Partnerships and others to identify, cultivate, and steward relationships with funders, clients, and other partners in support of BoardSource’s mission to advance the public good by building exceptional nonprofit boards and inspiring board service.  Ideal candidates will have a Bachelor’s degree with seven or more years of experience including at least five years of experience in direct revenue generation, fundraising, or new business development.  You should note that you may be required to travel 6-10 times a year.
  • Director, Development: Reporting to the CEO, the Director of Development provides leadership, management and coordination for fundraising efforts including donor marketing and communications. Working closely with the Executive Team and the Board of Directors, the Director of Development is responsible for implementing and improving a comprehensive development program, leading staff, and optimizing structures and systems. To be successful, the Director will collaborate with all constituents, organize systems and projects, and communicate the agency's mission, values and brand.

Things Your Nonprofit Resume Doesn't Need

When preparing your nonprofit resume, you probably already have a good idea of what you need to include.  But do you know what you should leave out?

You need to include a lot of information in your resume.  You simply can't risk including unnecessary information or you will risk losing your reader.  Being able to present information in a concise manner is one of the many things an employer will look for when deciding which candidate they want to learn more about.  That's where knowing what information to leave out comes in handy.   Consider leaving the following items out of your resume:
  • References: If you suspect an employer will want references, leave a note at the end of your resume saying that they will be provided upon request.  Employers conduct thorough background checks these days, so references are not always needed.  Read our article on getting references if you are asked for them.
  • A Photograph: It may seem like a nice touch, but including a picture of yourself is really just a waste of space.  You're going to be hired based on your abilities, not your physical appearance.
  • An Objective Statement: Most job seekers still feel the need to include this, but it's not necessary anymore.  Instead of writing a paragraph on why you should be hired, list off a few of your traits that will make you desirable for the position.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Time Management And Your Job Search

If you were to take a poll of job seekers, chances are they would tell you that the hardest thing to deal with in a job search is time.  There just never seems to be enough of it in the day to get everything done.  There's a solution to this problem: Time management.  If you can master this skill, you will find it a lot easier to get all of your job search activities done. 

The first thing you should do to manage your time better is to create a schedule of what you are going to accomplish each day.  This should include both the time you plan to start the activity, and how long you want to spend doing it.  Here's an example:

9:00 AM-10:30 AM: Apply to jobs via online job boards.

10:30 AM-11:30 AM: Go on LinkedIn to develop new networking contacts.

12:00 PM-12:30 PM: Lunch!

12:30 PM-1:30 PM: Apply to more jobs.

You get the idea.  The goal here is to make your search more like a full-time job.  Most job search experts will tell you this is one of the keys to being successful.  After you have created your schedule, the real challenge is sticking to it.  How difficult this is will depend on your level of discipline.  One helpful tip is to set a timer to go off after the allotted time has passed.  I don't think there's anything wrong with spending an extra five minutes or so past your schedule, but don't go overboard.  If you discover that your schedule isn't giving you enough time to complete everything, change it up the next time.  There's nothing wrong with being flexible with your time management.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Nonprofit Career Round-Up: 12/02/2011

Here are today's top nonprofit jobs.

  • Director of Resource Development: This is a featured job, so be sure to act quickly!  This position is at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, Illinois.  The director of resource development is responsible for leading the process through which the College pursues public and private grants. Position supports the Vice President for Institutional Advancement in reaching the resource development goals of the College.  The ideal candidate will have at least five years of experience writing grant proposals.  Must be comfortable doing this either alone or in a group setting. 
  • Assistant Director, Development Operations: Like animals, zoos, and fundraising?  Then this is the job for you!  The Wildlife Conservation Society, located in Bronx, NY, is looking for an assistant director for their development operations.  The candidate must have a B.A./B.S. and a minimum of 7 years experience in development department operations and management, or fundraising department or other relevant experience.  You must also have excellent organizational, project management, and budgeting skills.
  • Senior Manager of Communications & Marketing: The American Pharmacists Association, located in Washington, DC, is looking to fill a position in communications and marketing.  If you have a Bachelor's degree in these fields, along with 3-5 years of relevant experience, this could be the perfect nonprofit job for you.  This position will be responsible for developing written and web based materials and strategy for other communication methods.

The November Jobs Report

The economy got some unexpected good news today with the release of the Labor Department's November jobs report.  Here are some highlights:

  • The unemployment rate fell to 8.6%, the lowest since March 2009.
  • Employers added 120,000 jobs in November.
  • An additional 72,000 jobs were added during September and October, more than was originally thought.
This is all great news but there are some things to keep in mind.  One of the reasons the unemployment rate declined is because a lot of people gave up the job search all together.  A closer look at the report shows that roughly 315,000 Americans dropped out of the labor market.  So while the drop in unemployment does reflect more Americans getting work, it's not the only reason.

Economists had expected the unemployment rate to remain unchanged from the previous month, so this is a welcome surprise.  And we have to take the good news when it comes.  We just have to remember that the job market still has a long way to go before it is fully recovered.  But this is definitely a step in the right direction. 

In the mean time, use this news as a way to re-energize your job hunt.

The Toughest Job Interview Question

We've gone over countless job interview questions on this blog.  I want to go over one question today that, despite it's simple appearance, can give job seeker's a lot of trouble: "Why should we hire you?"  This is one of those questions that almost every employer will ask.  Even though you know it's coming, it's still hard to prepare.

Answering this question successfully is one of the keys to getting that job.  But before we delve into how to answer it, let's go over why interviewers are so in love with this question.  It all boils down to this: It gives the employer a good idea of your self-confidence.  This is key because it shows them that you know exactly what you are good at, and how you plan to put those talents to work for their organization.

Now that you know why this question is asked, it's time to figure out a way to answer it.  The first thing you need to do is embrace it as an opportunity to sell yourself.  Don't be afraid of sounding too overconfident or bragging: This is one of the few chances in life where it's OK to do that!  As a matter of fact, it's critical that your answer sounds as confident as possible.  That's why you should take a lot of time in developing a strong answer to the question.  If there is too much hesitation, your answer won't be as convincing.  Come up with a list of the things you do best, and then determine how those skills will help the organization.  Then, develop those ideas into cohesive statements.

Do you have any examples of a good "Why should we hire you?" answer?  Post them in the comments below.