Thursday, May 31, 2012

Featured Nonprofit Job: Director Of Fundraising And Marketing

Anyone who appreciates history knows how special both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The Statue was the first thing immigrants at the turn of the century saw of America, and Ellis Island was where they first stepped foot. If you've ever wanted to be a part of the preservation of these two historic landmarks, NPT Jobs has a position that is sure to get you excited.

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation (SOLEIF) is looking to hire a Director of Fundraising and Marketing to develop and lead a comprehensive fundraising campaign that significantly increases support to all programs and capital projects. The successful candidate will be familiar with a wide range of fundraising techniques, such as capital campaigns, corporate and foundation relations, direct response, and e-philanthropy.

The chance to work at a well known international organization won't come easy. Ideal candidates must meet the following qualifications:
  • Experience in virtually all aspects of resource development including individual giving’s, foundation and corporate sponsorships, events, direct response e-philanthropy, etc.
  • Proven track record of developing, cultivating, soliciting and closing large gifts; capital campaign experience; success building and energizing a dynamic development program.
  • Familiar with the NYC and national philanthropic communities; commitment to fostering collaborative working relationships at all levels.
  • Demonstrated track record of success engaging board leadership in development.
  • Superior written and verbal communication skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.
Head on over to our career center to learn more about this job. When you are ready to apply, send your resume and cover letter to

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Job Interview Do's And Don'ts

It can be easy to relax after you finally get called in for a job interview. Crafting the perfect resume and cover letter was the hard part -- surely things will get easier now, right? Not so, according to Bruce A. Hurwitz.

Hurwitz, vice president of New York City-based Joel H. Paul & Associates, Inc., a national executive search firm for the nonprofit sector, told an audience at a recent Fundraising Day in New York that preparing for an interview can be the hardest part of the job search. He explained that while a job interview can get you in the door, your behavior or appearance can kick you out just as fast.

Hurwitz offered the following do's and don'ts to help you prepare:


  • Research the employer. You don't have to memorize the mission statement, but at least know some key facts about the organization.
  • Prepare for multiple interviews. Sometimes one interview isn't enough. There are many employers who will use multiple job interviews to see how you fit in the organization as a whole.
  • Dress professionally. When in doubt, err on the side of conservative. Avoid wearing perfume or aftershave.
  • Ask for business cards. You want to remember the person who interviewed you to make it easier to call them back in the future.
  • Make eye contact. Be friendly without forcing chumminess.
  • Immediately send a thank-you letter. This can be the difference between getting and not getting the job.
  • Be aware of what's said on the Internet about you.
  • Be late. This seems obvious but there are many unexpected factors that can cause this. To give yourself time, leave earlier than you need to.
  • Bring coffee or other beverages.
  • Speak ill of your previous or current employers.
  • Bring up salary or benefits. If the employer mentions it, be honest about what you've made and what you want to make.
  • Be modest. This is your time to shine. Emphasize both what you've done personally and what you've done in a team.
  • Say how you would fix their problems.
  • Bring notes. Prepare beforehand for questions but don't sound rehearsed.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

3 Branding Tips For Your Cover Letter

The cover letter is important for a variety of reasons. Not only does it provide more details for the information in your resume, it also allows you to showcase your personal brand.

One of the most common misconceptions about cover letters is that they are about you. As a matter of fact, they are really more about what you can do for the employer. When crafting your cover letter, you need to make sure you highlight your brand in a way that matches what the organization is looking for in an ideal candidate.

Here are three ways to accomplish that important goal:
  • Craft a creative opening to your cover letter instead of relying on standard introductions. A good way to do this is to use narrative techniques show how your skills will help the employer (i.e., telling a story of how your abilities were able to help at your previous job).
  • Focus on a few of the skills you listed in your resume and expand on them in greater detail. Explain the results you accomplished with them and how they fit the position for which you are applying.
  • A poor closing can hurt an otherwise strong cover letter. Wrap up by letting the reader know when you intend to follow up and link them to your social media profiles and, if applicable, your online portfolio.
These three tips will make sure that employers, when they read your cover letter, will connect your brand to the needs of their organization. Make sure to use some variant of them when you start writing. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Be Productive During Memorial Day

We're just a day away from Memorial Day weekend, which means most of you will probably be enjoying a relaxing three days. No doubt you will be wanting to avoid anything related to the job search. You should take a break from the daily grind, but you can still find ways to be productive while taking a much deserved rest.

One of the most popular Memorial Day activities is the barbecue. Most people invite a lot of friends and family to join in the fun, which makes it a great place to do some networking. There's a good chance a lot of the people you see haven't seen you in a while, so they won't necessarily know you are currently looking for a job

The danger here is you don't want to come off as begging or desperate. You also don't want to ruin the festive atmosphere by bringing up work. That's why it's important to bring up your job search in a casual manner. Here's an example of what you could say in response to a question such as "What have you been up to lately?"
"Well I've been pretty busy these days. I've been spending a lot of time looking for work which, as you probably know is pretty frustrating. I've gotten some leads but it's still a struggle."
Something like this will hopefully lead the person to offer some assistance, assuming they have contacts in the nonprofit sector. If you don't get that kind of response, you can always ask if they could offer any assistance. But that should wait until the end of the conversation.

Make sure you have a good Memorial Day weekend regardless of what happens with your job search. Consider these three days as a reward for all of your hard work so far!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Can You Be An Introverted Fundraiser?

It would seem difficult to be successful at fundraising as an introvert. The nature of the job means you have to deal with people on an ongoing basis. While it certainly helps to have an outgoing personality as a fundraiser, it's not a requirement.

According to Eva E. Aldrich and Tyrone M. Freeman, associate directors of The Fundraising School of The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, introverted people can bring a lot to the table when it comes to fundraising. Speaking at the 48th AFP International Conference on Fundraising, they said that harnessing their strengths can be helpful for organizations.

Here are some of those strengths:

  • Relationship building.
  • Listening.
  • Reflection.
 Aldrich and Freeman then discussed the best ways to get introverts to get past their comfort zones:

  • Reaching out.
  • Reflecting, and the acting.
  • Managing their energy.
  • Exploring roles.
As far as working with introverted colleagues (or donors), they suggested the following:

  • Allow them time for thinking and reflection.
  • Make space in the conversation.
  • Make time for relationships, and solitude. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Worst Things To Include In Your Resume

Everyone wants their resume to stand out from the competition -- that is, unless it's for the wrong reasons.

Job seekers sometimes struggle with how much information to include in their resumes. They wonder whether it's better to have too much information rather than too little. The answer is simple: You shouldn't be worried about how much information you have, only if that information is relevant and appropriate.

Here are four things that you should avoid including at all costs, no matter what the length of your resume is:

  • Personal Information: Employers don't need to know whether you are married or any other personal details. You can, however, include URLs to a website or blog that you created that has relevance to the position for which you are applying.
  • Salary Requirements: Unless the job description specifically asks for your salary range, this information is best left for later in the hiring process. If you are asked, be as broad as possible.
  • Unrelated Experience: Think carefully about the work/volunteer experience you list in your resume. Only jobs or activities that have relevance to the position in question should be mentioned.
  • Your Weaknesses: Focus only on your strengths. You'll probably be asked about your weaknesses if you get a job interview, but that answer can be saved until the question is actually asked.

Four Unprofessional Habits

One of the reasons the job search is so tough is that, because employers have so many potentially qualified candidates to choose from, the smallest mistake can disqualify you. Something that you consider to be harmless can actually be very unprofessional in the eyes of recruiters.

Below are four habits that you need to kick so you aren't branded as an amateur. It seems unfair that you can be judged because of such little things, but it won't do you any good to complain about it. The sooner you ditch these habits, the better off you will be in terms of your job search.

  • Using a Silly E-Mail Address: Just because you get a kick out of it doesn't mean the employer will. You can keep that address for your personal use, but create a separate e-mail for professional purposes. This has the added benefit of keeping your contacts more organized.
  • Failing to Proofread Your Resume and Cover Letter: An otherwise flawless job application can be ruined by careless errors. Make sure to proofread all documents you send to the employer. There's no denying this can take some time, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
  • Not Preparing for the Job Interview: Even if you are at your best thinking on your feet, it's a big mistake not to do preparation. Winging it during a job interview can lead to more "ums" and pauses, which will make the hiring manager believe you know nothing about the organization.
  • Failing to Send a Thank-You Note After An Interview: Nothing will paint you in a more negative light than neglecting to express your gratitude to the employer after an interview. Just because you thanked them in person doesn't give you license to not send a thank-you note.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Picking The Right Nonprofit Internship

If you are a job seeker just getting out of college or just have very little experience, it can be difficult to get full-time employment. It's during these circumstances that an internship can be an appealing proposition.

Nonprofit internships rarely pay and when they do, it's very little. Doing work for low pay isn't exactly an ideal situation but all that hard work can really pay off for you. Internships often lead to being hired by the organization assuming you've done a good enough job. They will also fill those pesky gaps in your resume, giving you a better shot at getting hired.

So where do you start looking for your first internship? You should begin by looking for opportunities that fit with your overall carer goals. This doesn't necessarily mean you have to limit your search to work within your field. Skills that you need for specific roles are often interchangeable. For example, you don't need to work under a Major Gift Officer to learn everything you need to know about fundraising. Having an internship at any nonprofit will expose you to this work, even if you aren't doing direct work in raising money. Besides, your internship could open your eyes to a new line of work you hadn't considered.

That's why it's also important to consider other career skills to add to your resume. Being a one-trick pony in this job market isn't going to cut it, and pursuing new experiences through internships is a great way to beef up your credentials.

Have you had any great experiences with nonprofit internships? Feel free to share your stories in the comments section below.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Start Spreading The News -- About Your Job Search

The opening line of Frank Sinatra's famous "New York, New York" contain valuable advice for all first time job seekers: "Start spreading the news."

One of the most common mistakes people make in the job search is not letting people know you are looking for work. This is an especially egregious error in today's society. With sites like Facebook and Twitter playing big roles in peoples' lives, it's imperative you let all of your followers know that you would appreciate any leads they have.

There are some job seekers who have the mistaken belief that asking for help from your contacts comes off as desperate. This is only true if you make it sound desperate. Here's an example of how not to let people know you need help:

"Ugh, this job search is terrible! It's so frustrating. Somebody help me find some work?!"
 This is a bad post for a number of reasons. First, it just sounds whiny. We all know the job search can be immensely frustrating but people generally won't want to help someone who sounds like they are just complaining. Another issues is that it sounds more like a demand than a polite request. If you write something like this as a Facebook status, chances are you won't even get a single "like," let alone a response.

Here's what you should write:

"Just wanted to let everyone know that I am currently looking for work. If anybody happens to have any leads in the nonprofit sector, could you please contact me? I appreciate any help I can get!"
Notice how this example politely states what you need without sounding desperate? It's also very specific, so you will be almost guaranteed to get responses that are relevant to the specific field in which you are looking.

The job search is a tough assignment for anybody, so don't make the mistake of going it alone. There's no shame in asking for help as long as you are polite about it.

Featured Nonprofit Job: Vice President For Public Education

The Guttmacher Institute, based in New York City, is looking to hire a Vice President for Public Education to lead the organization's efforts to inform the public about reproductive rights issues.

Reporting to the President/CEO, the successful candidate for this position will lead a diverse and growing range of communications and publications activities. He/she is ultimately accountable for assuring the high quality of all products carrying the Institute’s brand, not only its publications for academic and professional audiences, but also the factsheets, motion graphics, and social media posts designed to reach a variety of influential lay audiences.

Other responsibilities include:

  • Participate in monthly meetings of the senior management staff, which is responsible for oversight of the Institute as a whole, including its multiyear work plan, revenue projections, annual budget, board affairs, project development and fundraising.
  • Supervise four direct reports — the Communications Director, the Executive Editors of the Institute’s two peer-reviewed journals (Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health and International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health) and the Production Director—as well as other division staff when assigned to special reports or activities.
  • Manage the division’s overall work plan and budget to promote an on-time, on-budget completion of project activities under the division’s control.
  • Coordinate timing of Institute products with colleagues in the Research and Public Policy Divisions to set priorities in instances of conflicting needs.
  • Ensure that all publications and communication materials meet the Institute’s high standards of scientific accuracy and readability, and are consistent with the look and voice of the Guttmacher brand.
The ideal candidate for this position is a proven leader with knowledge of reproductive health and rights. Aside from this, the individual must meet the following requirements:
  • Master’s degree in a relevant field.
  • Minimum of 10 years of professional work related experience within the nonprofit world.
  • Proven ability both to be a strong leader and part of a close knit team.
  • Strong management skills with a demonstrated capacity to recruit, lead and marshal the talents of a diverse, competent and creative staff; to balance conflicting demands; and to meet tight deadlines.
  • Demonstrated understanding of communications work, including effective interaction with the media (U.S. and international, traditional and new) and other key audiences.
  • Exceptional writing and editing skills.
  • Strong public-speaking skills.
So do you want to be the next Vice President for Public Education? Apply today through our career center.

Friday, May 18, 2012

You Can Never Have Too Many Social Networks

There used to be a time when Facebook was the major social network on the Internet. While it's still extremely popular (and profitable), there are many other options now. Whether it's Twitter or Google+, people have many choices at their disposal.

If you were ever wondering which site you should use to enhance your job search, I have just the answer for you: All of them.

If this seems like a lot of work it's because it is. Having a presence on all of the major social media sites is extremely important simply because you will get so much more exposure than if you were just using one. The more information you provide on each of these sites, the easier it will be for employers to match your skills and talents with those that are being sought by the organization.

Here are some other social media tips:

  • Be consistent. Don't feel like you have to use different tones on each site. On the contrary, it's much more useful to present one personality so employers won't have any questions about your sincerity.
  • Be wary of recommendations. Sites like LinkedIn allow you to recommend other members in your network for jobs. This is a very useful feature, but make sure the person the recommendation is being done in good faith. In other words, don't engage in any quid pro quo dealings.
  • Decide what you want to share. Most social network sites have settings that allow you to control what you want to share with the public. Familiarize yourself with these settings so you are only sharing information you want prospective employers to see.

Featured Nonprofit Job: Energy Program Director

One of the most popular industries these days is energy. With gas prices rising and concerns about the impact of fossil fuels on the environment, more and more organizations are trying to advance clean energy technologies. You can add Izaak Walton League of America to that list.

The St. Paul, Minn.-based organization is looking to hire an individual who will head up its Energy Program. The chosen candidate will be responsible for strategic leadership and day-to-day management of the program. This position also involves advocacy on a range of clean energy issues at the state, regional, and national levels. Other duties include supervising staff and fundraising for the program.

The Energy Program Director should be capable in a variety of different roles. With this in mind, here are the qualifications you must meet to be considered for the job:

  • Master’s degree in environmental science, applied economics, public policy, or related field.
  • Ten years of senior program and management experience working on a wide-range of energy issues.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and expertise on energy issues, including ability to analyze and prepare relevant technical and economic information.
  • Experience managing professional and administrative staff and preparing and implementing annual budgets.
  • Successful track record in nonprofit fundraising. •Ability to work constructively and cooperatively with a diverse array of staff, volunteers, colleague organizations, government agencies, legislatures, stakeholders, and donors.
If this position is of interest to you, and you meet the qualifications above, go to our career center to apply.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

How Did The Best Get To The Top?

If you have little to no experience in the nonprofit sector, chances are you aren't going to be qualified for a CEO or other executive job. If that's the position for which you aspire, you're going to have to a lot of work when you finally get that nonprofit job.

If it is truly your goal to get to the top of an organization's leadership, it may be helpful to know how people in those current positions got there. That's exactly what Arlington, Va.-based Council on Foundations was trying to discover when they did the research for its Career Pathways to Philanthropic Leadership Baseline Report. The study analyzed the professional and personal characteristics in foundation executive positions and came up with the following results:
  • 79.5 percent of the 440 foundations that appointed CEOs and executive directors during the research period filled the positions with candidates outside the foundations.
  • 63.4 percent of successful candidates held either the chief executive (38.9 percent) or vice president (24.5 percent) roles prior to their ascension.
  • A majority of candidates that landed these executive positions were not originally from the philanthropic sector. From these transitional candidates, 24.3 percent came from business.
  • Nearly 20 percent of these successful candidates came from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds and 48.7 percent were women.
  • Some 30 percent of the field leaders interviewed said mentors played a crucial role in their career advancement.
  • Nearly 85 percent of interviewees expressed significant skepticism about the willingness of trustees, search consultants and other hiring decision makers to be influenced by leadership development efforts.

Job Interview Anecdotes

There's nothing like a good story to enhance your qualifications for a job. When told effectively, these anecdotes can be a real difference-maker for you during a job interview.

One of the big misconceptions about these stories is that they have to come from your career experiences. While those are certainly the easiest to present, you can actually use stories from any point in your personal life. You just have to make sure it shows off a side of you that makes you attractive for the job. Now that you know this, it's time to determine what you want to present to the hiring manager.

The first thing you should do when selecting an anecdote is to figure out what skills you want to highlight. A good way to speed up this decision is to look at the job description the organization posted. Employers will often sprinkle key words throughout their descriptions that describe the type of abilities for which they are looking. You should keep a close eye for words like "management," "analytical skills," etc.

If you are unable to find any of these words in the description, consider contacting the hiring manager asking what particular skills they are looking for in candidates.

Remember that the story you tell serves only to illustrate the points you made in your resume and cover letter. This means it should be short and to the point, so cut out any irrelevant aspects. If you are able to trim your anecdote down to the main essentials, you will find that it will be a very successful way to prove your worth.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Featured Nonprofit Job: Chief Development Officer

Sands Point, N.Y.-based Helen Keller National Center (HKNC) is looking to hire a Chief Development Officer to lead their fundraising efforts.

This job is perfect for those individuals that have a good amount of experience with fundraising. The position will be in charge of all strategic development initiatives including constructing, articulating, and implementing a successful development plan. The chosen applicant will also be responsible for the following tasks:

  • Develop and execute a strategy to expand current fundraising efforts to include, but not limited to: High net- worth individuals, government contracts, grant writing and events.  
  • Coach board and staff in all aspects of the fundraising process and how to ask for money.
  • Develop consistent messaging and brand maximization through strategic use of media, communications and technology along with managing and monitoring all donor relationships and communications.
  • Responsible for leading, mentoring, and recruiting staff with necessary experience to build-out the desired development team.
Although the position is based in New York, it is not necessary to live there to apply (it is preferable, however). Here are some other qualifications you should meet before applying:
  • 7-plus years of professional development experience primarily with face-to-face major gift solicitation.
  • Demonstrated history of raising money for organizations with budgets over $5 million.
  • Strong work ethic.
  • Excellent communication skills both written and oral.
  • Entrepreneurial and client-driven approach with a passion for the deaf-blind population.
  • Experience with Raisers Edge, database management and common software applications.
  • Bachelors’ degree required, Masters’ degree preferred.
This position is bound to be in high demand, so apply today via our career center!    

6 Simplifying Job Search Tips

The job search can be a very overwhelming task if you allow it to be. There are so many tools at a job seeker's disposal that it can become very easy to lose focus.

It's easy to see how this can happen. I can speak from experience that the many things I had to accomplish in a given day made searching for a job an exhausting task. I later discovered that I was trying to accomplish too much in a given day. It got a lot easier when I discovered that, no, I didn't have to use as many job boards as I was using. If you are starting to sense that your job search activities have made your ultimate goal harder to achieve, it may be time to take a step back and simplify things. Here are six tips to help accomplish this:

  • Organize: You need to lay out a plan before you even start looking for a job. Create a spreadsheet to keep track of the jobs for which you already applied, make a list of manageable goals you want to accomplish each week, etc.
  • Join Social Networks: Social networking sites like LinkedIn can help ease your job search. Make sure to join them if you haven't already.
  • Choose Your Job Boards: As I hinted at before, you don't have to use too many job boards to accomplish your goals. Make a list of three or four that you think are best suited for you.
  • Use Job Search Engines: Having trouble finding job boards? Make use of job search engines like Indeed to guide you in the right direction.
  • Connect With Employers: Follow nonprofits you are interested in on Facebook or Twitter. Interact with them often so they have a better idea of who you are when you decide to apply.
  • Don't Forget About Networking: Set aside a day in the week to tap into your career network. If you don't have many contacts, try to make some through family friends or through sites like LinkedIn.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Resume Design And You

When it comes to resume writing, less is more according to Bruce A. Hurwitz, vice president of New York City-based Joel H. Paul & Associates, Inc.

There's no reason to make your resume look fancy. Instead of trying to impress employers with tricks, Hurwitz recommended the following tips at the recent Fundraising Day in New York held by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater New York Chapter:

  • For printed resumes, ditch the lavender, perfume-sprayed paper. Stick with plain white, 12-point font, black ink and white space. Basic is better for resumes.
  • The length. Some would suggest no more than a page, but Hurwitz insists putting as much as necessary to properly show who you are. Don’t make it a novella – two to three pages should do.
  • Don’t go back more than 20 years in work history, especially if it includes your supermarket checkout gig when you were too young to drive.
  • Name the document with your name followed by “resume.” That should get the point across.
  • Your full name, address, phone numbers and email should be at the top. Don’t use unprofessional email addresses.
  • Tell the truth, the whole truth. Don’t lie or embellish – it will catch up to you.
  • Use bullets. It makes the information look clean and organized.
  • Categorize. Don’t just jumble all your information. Set categories, such as work experience, education, awards or honors, and languages – and place information in its right spot.

Nonprofit Salaries: Fundraising

If you were to tell someone you knew that you were thinking of working in the nonprofit sector, one of the most common responses would probably go something like this: "Really? Don't you want to make money?"

The truth of the matter is that, despite popular belief, nonprofits can actually provide you with more than respectable salaries -- and there's no better example of this than fundraising jobs. The NonProfit Times recently reported that the majority of fundraisers saw major pay hikes, according to a recently released report by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). The study showed that the average salary for U.S. fundraisers was $75,595 in 2011.

This is not to say you should expect this kind of pay at every nonprofit. Indeed, salaries vary depending on a number of factors. According to NPT's 2011 Salary and Benefits Report, the salary paid to development positions increased as the operating budget of the organization grew. Nonprofits that had a budget of $0 to $499,999 paid fundraisers an average of $34,012, while those with a budget of $50,000,000+ paid an average of $69,394. So if you're looking for a big pay day, it stands to reason that you should apply to larger nonprofits.

Another variant that determines salary is the field in which the organization works. Here are some of the industries that pay the most:

  • International, Foreign Affairs: $56,916
  • Education: $56,745
  • Health: $54,574
  • Public, Societal Benefit: $51,169
All of these fields are pretty important in today's society, especially health care, so it should come as no surprise that they reward their employees well. If you want to learn more about nonprofit salaries, be sure to purchase our Salary and Benefits Report. And, if you are a nonprofit employee, don't forget to participate in our 2012 Nonprofit Salary and Benefits Survey.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Youth Is Wasted On The Young

On the surface, young people seem to be a logical choice for nonprofits. They are full of energy and passion which are important traits to have in the workplace. It might be true that your organization is specifically looking for youthful job applicants, but you still need to consider older people.

Age discrimination is illegal yet it remains a problem in today's society. But, as the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) pointed out in "Job Hunting: Your Guide to Success," rejecting an older applicant isn't always blatant discrimination; it could just be plain ignorance.

The most innocent sounding words could be construed as age discrimination. To help nonprofits avoid any potential legal troubles, the AARP listed words or phrases in job ads or interviews that could give applicants the wrong impression:

  • The employer wants a younger looking person for the job.
  • “Needs new blood.”
  • Someone says there is no job opening, but the next day a position is advertised. 
  • The employer assumes an applicant would not want a job because of being “over-qualified.”
  • The applicant is asked when s/he graduated from college.
  • The applicant is asked if there would be any problems working for a younger supervisor. 

Job Search Tips For College Graduates

College graduation is quickly approaching for most students. In fact, some have already gone through the pomp and circumstance of the ceremonies. Once the excitement of finishing those four long years fades, the reality will finally set in that it's time to really work on the job search.

The most prepared college graduates are the ones that already started building their network the moment they picked a major. It's not impossible to find a job if you don't do this, but it certainly makes it a lot harder. Not that anything is truly easy in these tough economic times. It's because of this difficult job market that college grads need to have a solid plan when searching for work.

Being prepared means being extremely organized. Consider creating a spreadsheet that keeps track of all of the jobs you have applied for. Organizations will often post their open positions on multiple job boards, so it's important to make sure you aren't applying to the same job twice. This is not only a waste of your time but also could disqualify your initial application.

Another important thing to do is to have realistic expectations about the work you need to do. Just because you have the most impressive resume in the world doesn't mean you don't have to put any effort into your hunt. With the amount of competition that is out there, you will need to be vigilant to ensure that you get the job that you want.

These are just some of the tips that will help ease the job search for college graduates. If you have any others, feel free to share them. Best of luck to all of the future members of the work force!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Featured Nonprofit Job: President/CEO

Do you have the ambition and experience to fill one of the more coveted nonprofit positions out there? If so, then you will be pleased to know that the McHenry Community Foundation is looking to hire a new President/CEO.

Based just outside of Chicago, the McHenry Community Foundation (MCCF) is a respected public foundation whose goal is to improve the quality of life in the county. It achieves this mission through the building of a permanent endowment, through leadership in strategic issues of importance in the county, through service to donors and philanthropists in the county, and through granting and funding the county’s unmet needs.

The organization's new President/CEO will increase philanthropic assets with the goal of establishing MCFF as the premier philanthropic resource for those who care about the issues and future of McHenry County. In partnership with the Board of Directors, the President/CEO will envision and implement the next phase of MCCF’s growth, including strategic approaches to fundraising, granting and staffing.

It should come as no surprise that you will need to have a lot of experience to be qualified for this job. Please go over the following requirements:

  • Senior executive level experience;
  • A commitment to the mission of MCFF;
  • Demonstrated record of increasing a nonprofit's financial assets, staff levels, and brand awareness; and,
  • Leadership experience, including fundraising in nonprofit or community organizations either as staff or board member is highly preferred.
Interested? Apply today via our career center.

Stop Over-Thinking The Job Search

It's hard enough to get a job in these difficult economic conditions. Don't make it even harder by over-thinking yourself out of potentially good situations.

With the job market the way it is right now, it can be pretty easy to believe you need to be pretty clever to get that nonprofit job. What you really need is impressive accomplishments and the right set of skills; being smarter than the competition won't make getting hired anymore likely.

So the next time you are filling out your resume and cover letter, avoid the following mistakes:

  • Resting On Your Laurels: Sure, you've done some pretty impressive things in your past career. But that won't help you one bit today. This is not to say your experience won't help you -- it will. It's just that you will also need to convince hiring managers that you have what it takes to help them in the future.
  • Too Much Information: Don't overload employers with information that has no relevance to the position. Be absolutely certain what you are including is necessary before putting it into your application.
  • Trying To Outwit the Employer: Despite what you have heard, the job search is not a battle. You don't need to defeat your interviewer in a game of wits to get hired. Think about the best ways you can show recruiters that you are the right for the job, not how you can trick them into hiring you.
  • "I Don't Need Help:" Don't be afraid to ask for help from your friends, family, or colleagues. It's not a sign of weakness to get assistance from those who have your best interest in mind.
  • "I Don't Need Social Media:" Actually, you do. Recruiters use social media a lot these days to help them gauge applicants. If you haven't already, give yourself an online presence on sites like Facebook or Google+.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Featured Nonprofit Job: Vice President For Membership Development

There are more and more Americans who are looking to get involved with media in some form. Whether it's working at a TV station or doing work for an online company, this line of work has become more popular. Are you interested in this field as well? North Texas Public Broadcasting (NTPB) has just posted a position with NPT Jobs that is sure to interest you.

The Dallas-based broadcaster, responsible for the region's PBS and NPR stations, is looking to hire a Vice President for Membership Development. The successful candidate will have a proven track record of fundraising achievement that includes effective strategic and managerial leadership. You should also be a strong leader, as you will be responsible for motivating and mentoring others in the organization and foster creative approaches to achieve membership and philanthropic goals.

Other requirements include:

  • 5+ years of experience in successfully leading a membership and/or applicable fundraising/marketing program (preferably in public media/non-profit sector);
  • Results-oriented marketing techniques;
  • The ability to work in partnership with diverse teams (volunteers, staff members, donors and community representatives);
  • Superior leadership, organizational, management, marketing and communication skills;
  • Experience with a donor database software system; and,
  • Bachelor's Degree in related field.
Think you have what it takes to be successful at NTPB? Apply today via our career center.

7 Professional Development Tips

Professional development is one of the most important tools for your career advancement. When most people hear that term, they immediately think about graduate or continuing education programs. While these are all good ways to advance your career, there are a lot more ways to develop your career skills.

According to James Weinberg, founder and CEO of Boston, Mass.-based Commongood Careers, heading back to school is only one of the paths you can choose when it comes to professional development. At a recent conference hosted by the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), Weinberg listed seven other things you can do to advance your career:

  • Workshops. Some of these guarantee certificates, but check to see if that piece of paper means anything for your professional career.
  • Self-education books. Sometimes the best teacher is yourself. Look for books or online course to expand your knowledge.
  • In-house mentors. Ask a competent colleague or supervisor for help.
  • Outside mentors. Structure a relationship with someone in the field that works outside of your organization.
  • Peer networks. These organize individuals with similar jobs.
  • Consulting. Side projects can help you encounter elements of your position that may not come up at your job.
  • Volunteering. This offers flexibility to your schedule.
As you can see, there are a number of things you can do to make sure you head down the right road in your career. Make sure to use a combination of the above tips to get the most successful results.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

5 Challenges To Internet Background Checks

The Internet has made background checks for potential employees simpler than ever. An organization only needs to visit the individual's Facebook or other social media page, and they can find out everything they would want to know about them.

As easy as it is, employers need to be wary of the information they find.

As Eileen Morgan Johnson explained in her article, “Social Media: Its Use by Employers in Pre-Employment, Employment and Post-Employment Situations" which appeared in “New York Public Personnel Law” and was reprinted in the book “Social Networking,” some of the information you come across on the Internet are pitfalls. She listed five things that need to be handled with care:

  • Information that cannot be used in the hiring process (age, race, etc.) can be found in an online profile but it still cannot be used.
  • Make sure the person whose profile you are viewing is actually your applicant. After you've confirmed this, make sure the information is reliable.
  • Is there a reasonable expectation of privacy? Avoid attempts to circumvent the privacy settings put in place by users.
  • The breadth of information a Google search can unearth has drawbacks, including difficulty in identifying sources.
  • Current law on reviewing social media sites. There are no current court decisions, but that is no guarantee there won’t be any soon.

Making A Temporary Job Last

Sometimes the best employment you can get is temporary. While they don't offer the stability (or pay) that a full-time job, temp jobs can be very useful for your future career prospects. And, if you play your cards right, you can turn these positions into lasting employment.

Similar to how you can turn an internship into a full-time job, temporary employment can also be converted. It all starts with selling yourself as an employee that can fulfill multiple roles. Hiring managers look favorably upon individuals who are able to show their career skills lie in more than one area. Offer to help with other projects around the office, show you are willing to learn new things. In other words, prove that you are a valuable member of the organization.

It's not exactly easy doing work that you know could end after a specified period of time, especially if the work isn't that stimulating. You still need to try your hardest to keep a positive attitude despite all of this. Sulking around the office will not only hurt your chance of landing a full-time job with the nonprofit, but it will also make the employer less likely to refer you when if you ask for recommendations in the future.

Finally, remember to speak up when you are talking with your temp agency. Tell them you are looking for a job that could eventually turn into steady work. This will allow them to narrow their search for organizations that would be willing to eventually hire you should you do a good enough job.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Rules Are Meant To Be Broken

Rules are in place for a reason.  They are meant to steer us away from practices that will ultimately do us more harm than good.  As a job seeker, you are probably very aware of the many job search rules and you probably follow them.  In the competitive economic environment we live in, however, some rules are meant to be broken.

The economy may be steadily improving, but that doesn't mean it's any easier to get a job.  In fact, it may even be harder with all the new job seekers getting back into the hunt.  The job search rules that you know all too well don't have as much relevance in today's competitive job market.  As such, don't hesitate to ignore these commonly held beliefs about the job search:

  • Don't Apply If You Don't Meet The Requirements: Job requirements can be more flexible than you think.  I still wouldn't recommend spending too much time applying for jobs you may not be qualified for, but it's not a bad idea if it's a job that you really want.
  • Highlight Your Education: College education is important, but it's not the be-all-end-all requirement it used to be.  Employers care more about your experience doing the work they need you to do, even if it's something you consider minor like volunteering.
  • Don't Contact The Company If You're Rejected: You should definitely send a note to the employer thanking them for considering you if you're rejected.  It's the polite thing to do and -- who knows? -- it could end up being to your advantage if their first choice doesn't work out as planned.
  • Send The Same Application To All Employers: You must tailor your resume and cover letter to the job for which you are applying.  Employers will see right through copy-pasted job applications.

Rise Through The Ranks At Your Nonprofit Job

You will likely be content for some time once you get the nonprofit job of your dreams. It won't be too long, however, before you will want to start thinking about moving up the food chain.

As good as your job may be, it's not the best thing for your career development to stay in one position. That's why you need to do everything in your power to rise through the ranks in your office. These can range from very little gestures, such as helping your boss out with an errand, or something big, like taking part in an important business trip.

In their book "Great Leaders GROW," Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller wrote about the various things you can do to improve your chances of an eventual promotion. They came up with 16 items in all, so take out your notebook:

  • Shadow someone from another department or team.
  • Work at a client’s facility for a day or longer.
  • Listen in on donor calls.
  • Travel with senior leaders from the organization.
  • Serve on a cross-functional team.
  • Begin collecting best practices from top performers.
  • Interview recent retirees and seek their counsel on current issues.
  • Attend the premier of a new program or the grand opening of a new office.
  • Go back in the archives and watch presentations from the past decade.
  • Meet with leaders from other departments to understand their issues.
  • Have lunch with someone different every day until you run out of people, and then start over again.
  • Travel to visit your must successful chapters.
  • Find a mentor from another department.
  • Ask others who best embody the nonprofit’s core values and spend most of your time with them.
  • Attend open enrollment training events that will broaden your perspective.
  • Lead anything you can, be it a project team, ad hoc group, work group, fundraising campaign, or any other event. Chances are good you’ll learn more by leading than anything else.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Featured Nonprofit Job: Clinical Manager

The April Jobs Report paints a pretty ugly picture for employment prospects, but that doesn't mean companies aren't hiring. There are quite a few high quality jobs out there, including a new featured nonprofit job that was just posted on our website.

Los Angeles, Calif.-based Foothill Family Service (FFS) is currently accepting applications for a Clinical Manager position. FFS prides itself on providing a warm, friendly environment for its employees to work in, and the chosen candidate will be someone who wants to be a part of such a culture. This position is dedicated to making a positive impact in the lives of all of the organization's clients.

Here are the requirements for this job:
  •  Licensed Clinical Social Worker or Licensed MFT.
  • Supervisory experience required.
  • Must be able to supervise staff for hours.
  • Two years of post license experience in clinical supervision.
  • Department of Mental Health experience preferred.
  • Electronic Health Record System experience preferred.
  • Excellent written and communication skills.
  • Experience in providing direct service and treatment to individuals, families and groups.
  • Proven leadership skills including: problem solving, communicating with all levels in the organization and proactive follow up with subordinates.
  • Ability to effectively and successfully interact with individuals from diverse socio-economic/ethnic groups.
Interested? Read the full detail and apply via our career center.     

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Featured Nonprofit Job: Executive Vice President

Washington, D.C. is the home of many nonprofits. One of those, Meridian International Center, is one of the newest featured jobs in our career center.

The international nonprofit is seeking to hire a new Executive Vice President to maximize the organization's operating performance, ensure compliance with U.S. government grants and contracts, and help achieve its financial goals in conjunction with the group's Strategic Plan. This position carries great responsibility, as you will be serving as the President and CEO's main adviser, providing budget and administrative guidance along with high-level management and oversight of the Senior Management team.

Other responsibilities include:
  • Spearhead the development, communication and implementation of strategies, providing leadership in raising new funds and strategically positioning the organization for sustainable, effective growth.
  • Help maximize Meridian’s global leadership programs, US government and corporate partnerships.
  • Oversee programmatic, administrative, development, and financial operations.
  • Contribute to state-of-the-art technical project development, assuring that technology advances Meridian’s capacity and reputation.
  • Accountable for implementation of organization’s Strategic Goals.
  • Assure best overall business practices and quality control, especially with US government regulations.
  • Ensure financial control procedures are being followed and recommend improvements.
As you might imagine, this is a pretty high-level job, which means you need pretty extensive experience in order to qualify. Here are some of the requirements for the job:
  • BA and/or graduate degree; MBA a plus.
  • 7-10 years’ experience managing senior staff, programs and budgets; working in the global public/private arena at a senior level.
  • Excellent leadership skills in the areas of communication, decision-making, facilitation, supervision and planning.
  • Experience with USG contracts, grants and compliance; interfacing with legal counsel.
  •  Strategic planning experience.
  • Experience with financial management of programs and establishing operational standards.
  • Excellent organizational management and entrepreneurial mindset.
There are more requirements listed in the full job description. Check it out and then, if you think you have what it takes, apply for the job via our career center.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Look To The Future Before Accepting A Job Offer

It can be very tempting to accept any job offer during these tough economic times. The difficulty people have finding any job makes it tough not to say "yes" when you are offered a position. Yet there are legitimate reasons to say reject the offer. One of these is how settling for a lesser position just to get work will appear the next time you are back on the job search.

If the job you are being offered is way below your skill level or a step down from work you had previously done, you should strongly consider turning it down. I will readily admit that it's hard to look to the future when you are trying to focus on the present, but you need to consider how taking what you can get will look on your resume. If you can only explain your decision by saying "I was desperate for a job," you need to consider other options.

You also need to think about how happy you will be at this job. It's not good for your psyche to constantly be miserable at work, and it will also increase the likelihood that you will be laid off before too long. Then you'll be back at square one and will have to explain the short employment during your next interview.

Of course, there are circumstances that would make sense for you to accept employment that is below your skill level. If the job in question focuses on a new skill you want to learn, that would be easy to explain in the future, and employers will be impressed that you were keeping your long-term goals in mind.

There are also economic circumstances to keep in mind. If you are so hard-pressed for money that you are having trouble making ends meet, then you will probably have no choice but to accept a job offer, no matter how below your expertise it may be. Yet unless you are in this kind of dire circumstance, you should strongly consider looking elsewhere if you have no satisfactory way to explain why you settled for the first job you were offered.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Can Pinterest Help Your Job Search?

It seems like there is a new social media craze every year. Near the end of 2011, the newest fad was Pinterest, an online pin board where users can post pictures that relate to their interests. The site has continued to gain steam and many businesses and nonprofits are starting to use it.

While it doesn't seem like the kind of site that could help your job search, it can actually be just as useful as sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Since pictures are the main focus of Pinterest, you can use it to get a good sense of the culture at the nonprofits for which you want to work. What's their dress code? Where are they focusing their marketing efforts? These are all questions you can answer by browsing an organization's Pinterest board. Use this information to craft a tailored resume that shows you did a lot of research before applying.

Your job search efforts on Pinterest don't just have to be focused on employers; you can make pin boards to advance your brand. Sean Weinberg from Mashable posted an article in February with this great idea: Post your resume as a picture. All you have to do is create a board (call it "About Me" or "My Credentials") and post a picture of your resume. You can also link that picture to your online portfolio if you wish. You should also include photos of the various activities you do to help solidify your brand. As with any social networking site, you need to make sure many people see your board -- so make sure to share it in as many places as you can.

These are just a couple of ways you can use Pinterest to enhance your job hunt. Have any other ideas? Feel free to share them with us.