Friday, June 29, 2012

Don't Wear Shorts To Job Interviews

Let's take a moment to talk about fashion. Don't worry, we're not changing the subject of this blog, it just happens that what you wear has a pretty big impact when it comes to job interviews. One fashion faux pas and you could find yourself out of the running.

When preparing to choose an outfit for your interview, you have to strike a delicate balance between casual and professional. You don't want to come in with shorts and t-shirt, but you also shouldn't overdress, as that can come off as desperate. Here are some general tips to keep in mind:

  • Jeans are a no-no in any situation, even if it's a more casual work environment. Guys should always wear khakis of some kind, while girls should choose a long skirt or professional pants.
  • Another tip for girls: Don't go overboard on the makeup. You can use some, just make sure you don't use so much that it becomes distracting.
  • Interview attire isn't as conservative as it used to be, but that doesn't mean you should wear flip-flops or sneakers. Invest in a pair of low-cost dress shoes.
  • Here's a rule of thumb for jewelry: If you can hear it while walking, you have too much. The most you should wear are earrings, necklace, and a ring. Anything else is taking it too far.
  • Fashion isn't all about what you wear. Grooming is also important. Plan to get a hair cut a couple of days before your interview. Guys should plan to shave unless they already have a beard. In that case, make sure it is trimmed nicely.
Those are the basic guidelines for dressing up for your job interview. If you have any other tips, feel free to share them with us in the comments section.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wanted: Director Of Development

King's Academy, an independent, coeducational boarding and day school, has posted a nonprofit job on our career center. They are looking for a Director of Development.

Reporting to the Headmaster and working with the Board of Trustees, this position will create and implement a strategy to drive and maximize contributed income that supports the school's mission and priorities. The chosen candidate will also work to create a comprehensive, dynamic and sustainable program and culture of philanthropy.

There are a number of qualifications that applicants must meet to be considered for this job. Here are some of the most important ones:

  • Successful track record of development leadership experience in a not-for-profit organization, preferably secondary or higher education.
  • Ability to plan and implement a comprehensive development program.
  • Proven success cultivating and securing major gifts.
  • Experience with capital campaigns.
  • Board relations experience.
  • Strategic planning skills.
  • Bachelor's degree in related field.
It should be noted that King's Academy is based in the Middle Eastern country of Jordan. As such, anyone who wishes to apply for this job must be willing to locate. The school will pay for all relocation costs. While it is not required, the ability to speak Arabic is a plus.

If you have decided that you want to apply for this position, head on over to our career center.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

3 Things To Remember During Job Interviews

Job interviews don't always come in bunches, so it's important to put your best face forward should you get called in for one.

Most job seekers know the important things to remember when they are preparing for an interview. They know they need to dress appropriately, have all of their talking points memorized, and bring in an extra copy of their resume. There are, however, some other points that interviewees forget when they walk into that office. Let's take a look at three of them:

  • The interview starts when you walk in the building. You need to impress people the minute you enter the waiting room, not just when you are speaking to the hiring manager. That means you shouldn't do anything you wouldn't do during the interview (i.e., chew gum, talk on your cell phone). You should also remember to be friendly to the assistant, even if you don't find her to be so nice herself.
  • Don't use the interview as a way to find out about what the organization does. Research of this kind should be done before the interview, not during it. Asking questions about the mission of the nonprofit is a good way to show the interviewer that you didn't do your homework.
  • Don't just talk about what you've done, show it. Print out copies of some of the work you have done to give the employer a look at your abilities in action. This is much more effective than just saying you are, for instance, good at writing.
One last thing: When you write your thank-you letter after the interview, make sure to be as original as possible. It should read as if a human being wrote it, not a robot, so avoid clich├ęd phrases.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Where To Look For Nonprofit Jobs

Are you looking for places to find a great nonprofit job? Luckily for you, there are plenty of resources all over the place to help your job search. There's only one question: Where should you start? Below I have compiled the 8 best places to look for work. We'll start with the most obvious choice:

  • Online Job Boards: Job sites like the Nonprofit Job Seeker are a good place to browse for the latest opportunities. Some job seekers think it's most efficient to just use one site, but it's actually best to pick out a few good ones. Remember, not all organizations post on the same boards.
  • Employer Websites: While most organizations take advantage of job posting sites, some simply post the latest opportunities on their web sites. Make sure to constantly visit the pages of nonprofits you are most interested in joining. A simple Google search will help you find an organization's web page.
  • Newspapers: Believe it or not, newspapers are still a good place too look for jobs. This is especially true for local papers. 
  • Craigslist: The popular online classifieds site is a great place to find the latest open positions. The jobs section of the site has a specific category for nonprofit jobs, so make sure to look in that position when browsing for work in your area.
  • Twitter: Be the first to know about new positions by following job-based Twitter accounts. NPT has one of these, and other organizations also tweet about new openings at their offices. You can also check Facebook pages as well.
  • Recruiting Agencies: Get in touch with these groups so they can help connect you with nonprofits that are looking to hire. It's possible you will only end up with a temp job, but those can eventually turn into full-time positions.
  • College Career Centers: Virtually every college has an office to help students and alumni find jobs. Even if it's been years since you've graduated from your university, you can still get in touch with them and they will help you connect with organizations looking to hire.
  • Walk-Ins: Don't be afraid to walk into the office of a nonprofit and ask directly if they are hiring. You can also call the human resources manager if you are too nervous to do a blind visit.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Human Resources: When It's Appropriate To Use E-Mail

Technology has bought us a world of convenience, and there's no better example of that than electronic mail. E-mail has made life in the business world a lot easier. No longer do organizations have to wait a day or more for an important message to arrive.

Yet, as with most things, this technology can have its downsides. A message that is meant to be a harmless joke could end up having the opposite effect because of lack of vocal context and, the next thing you know, you have a major office controversy on your hands. That’s why it’s important to know when it’s appropriate to use e-mail or other digital means when communicating with employees.

A good human resources officer should clearly communicate to employees the appropriate times to use digital communication. In their book "The Big Book of HR," Barbara Mitchell and Cornelia Gamlem wrote about five situations when you should consider talking rather than typing. Avoid e-mail when:
  • An immediate response is needed. Even though we all have access to e-mail, not everyone checks it regularly. And, let’s face it, some people like to procrastinate.
  • The message might be misunderstood. Sometimes things just don’t come out the right way without vocal context.
  • Face-to-face dialogue is needed.
  • The information is sensitive (bad news, confidential, proprietary information).
  • You are agitated.
You should also confirm situations where e-mail is appropriate. Use it when:
  • Your audience must get the message.
  • Your audience is at a distance.
  • A record of communication is required.
  • Multiple people must receive the message.
  • A quick but not instant response is needed.
  • Time is needed to compose the message.

Friday, June 22, 2012

4 Creative Additions To Your Resume

Everyone knows the standard things to include in a resume: Relevant work experience, skills, and education. But did you know there are some other additions you can add? Below are four of them, along with explanations of why they are important:

  • Volunteer Work: This is especially relevant for nonprofit jobs. It shows that you have a passion for a cause and are willing to put in hard work to get the job done. Long-term volunteer work is the most impressive, but you can list short-term projects.
  • Professional Hobbies: The word "professional" is key here. You shouldn't list "Dungeons and Dragons" in your resume, but you can mention activities that are relevant to the job for which you are applying. For example, if you are applying for an IT position, you could list computer programming as a hobby.
  • Experiences: Feel free to list experiences that have shaped your life, such as a study abroad. This is important as it gives the employer an idea of the kind of things you do with extended periods of free time. These types of experiences are ideal if you need to fill gaps in your employment.
  • Interests:  This will show that you are an individual who is well-rounded and has a fresh prospective. Organizations want people who have a broad range of interests, not someone who is one-dimensional.
Have any other ideas of things you can include in a resume? Feel free to list them in our comments section.

Wanted: Vice President Of Strategic Development

Community Connections, Inc. in South Yarmouth, Mass. is seeking to hire a Vice President of Strategic Development to help the disabilities services nonprofit develop a new plan for business development. Interested in this position? Read on for more details.

It goes without saying that this is a pretty high-end position, requiring candidates to be proficient in multiple roles. In addition to the main goal of developing a new direction for the organization, VP of Strategic Development will also be responsible for maximizing current service provision while creating and maintaining business partnerships. Finally, the position will also work to improve services so that Community Connections becomes the provider of choice in Southeastern Massachusetts.

Make sure you meet the following qualifications before applying for this job:
  • 10 years of upper level management experience and a Master’s degree (preferred).
  • Proven track record of business strategy implementation.
  •  Solid leadership and facilitation skills, with the ability to multi-task and carry projects through to successful completion.
  • Strategic, visionary thinker with the ability to collaborate and “build bridges”; inspirational innovator in creating new ventures.
If you think you have what it takes to be successful in this role, go to our career center and apply today.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why Enthusiasm Matters In The Job Search

Job seekers look for any advantage they can get during the job search. Whether it's highlighting a unique skill or taking advantage of great contacts, they need all they can help in this job market. What if I told you the best trick you can use is something everybody has?

You'd be surprised at how much of a difference enthusiasm can make in your search for a job, especially in the nonprofit sector. Having a clear passion for an organization's mission can be key in the eyes of the employer. There's a belief among some job seekers that showing enthusiasm will make them come off as desperate. This is an understandable concern, and it can be true if you go overboard (i.e., "this is the greatest job I have ever seen" or something along those lines).

So what are the best ways to show your excitement for the position without seeming fake? Here are some quick tips:

  • Tell a story in your cover letter that illustrates how the nonprofit's mission has played a big part in your life.
  • Explain how your skills would make a big difference in the organization's goals.
  • Do extensive research about the history of the organization and display this knowledge in your interview. This shows that you were excited enough to do your homework.
  • Choose your adjectives carefully when describing the position. Use words like motivated and passionate.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Featured Nonprofit Job: President Of The Foundation

Have you ever wanted to become the president of a major foundation? The Nonprofit Job Seeker has just the position for you if you have the drive and ambition to qualify for this important role.

The New Mexico Conference Methodist Foundation is looking to hire a new President of the Foundation, a position that carries a great deal of responsibility. Duties include oversight of existing services and programs and the development of new and enlarged services to strengthen the ministires of local churches, districts, the New Mexico Annual Conference, and the general ministries of The United Methodist Church. The chosen candidate will also be in charge of planning the strategic direction and day-to-day management of the Foundation.

As you might expect, there are a number of requirements for this job. They include:

  • Passion for and commitment to the mission of The United Methodist Church;
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and manage steady organizational growth;
  • High-level budget, investment and financial management experience;
  • Experience working with non-profit Boards of Directors and ability to partner with the Board;
  • Personnel and supervisory experience;
  • Knowledge about, membership in and commitment to the mission of The United Methodist Church and familiarity with the organization, polity, and structure of the denomination; and,
  • Minimum educational degree at Bachelor level and preferred advanced degree in a field related to the mission of the Foundation.
If you meet all of these qualifications and are interested in applying for this job, we invite you to read the full job description on our website.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How To Enjoy Career Networking

Let's face it: Career networking is not exactly the funnest thing in the world. Putting yourself out there can be a very stressful thing, which makes many job seekers want to do all they can to avoid it. This is ultimately to their detriment, as networking is a vital part of the job search.

The first thing you need to do to reduce the pressure is to remember you go to networking events not only to receive help but also to give it. Too many job hunters go to these events thinking it's their one opportunity to make new contacts, which sets the stakes at an unreasonably high level. If you change your mindset so that you recognize you are there to contribute and get any help that is available, you will feel less stressed, which will ultimately boost your chances of making solid contacts.

On a similar note, you should not appear desperate when talking to attendees. People have different definitions of this, but one thing to look out for is making the main purpose of your conversations to get something. You should be getting to know the other attendees with talk about work flowing naturally from the conversation. People don't like to feel like they are only being talked to because the other person wants something.

Finally, act naturally. You definitely need to prepare before you attend events, but you don't want to come off as scripted. Being real is the key to getting the best responses from other attendees, as people have a tendency to want to help others who they think are being straightforward.

None of these tips are guaranteed to make you absolutely love career networking if you already don't enjoy it. But hopefully they will make you tolerate more than you did before.

Monday, June 18, 2012

How To Blow Them Away During Your Next Job Interview

Job interviews are all about first impressions. You have only one shot to impress hiring managers enough so that they will either hire you or call you in for a second interview. Fail to do that and you'll be on your way to filling out yet another application.

Employers are understandably picky about who they want to hire, so it's important that you stand out among the other candidates they see. Here some tips to make them say "wow" at the end of the interview:

  • Make Your Resume Clear and Concise: You'd be surprised how many applicants send in cluttered resumes. It makes a world of difference to a hiring manager when they get applications that don't leave them confused.
  • Dress to Impress: It doesn't matter what the atmosphere of the organization is: You should always come to the interview dressed professionally. That means no jeans or sneakers. I would avoid wearing colors that are too bright, as that can come off as a little over-the-top;.
  • Be Punctual: Arrive at the office exactly when you are asked. Nothing makes a worse first impression than being late, but being too early can be a bad thing as well. It can make employers feel like they have to rush through what they are doing in order to attend to you.
  • Come Prepared With Questions: Interviewers like candidates who show interest in their organization. Even if they aren't ground-breaking questions, it's worth asking.
  • Say "Thanks:" Send a thank-you letter after the interview is over. Make sure to once again express your interest in the job in your note.

Don't Lie In Your Resume

There's sometimes a distinction made between lying and stretching the truth. This is never the case when it comes to your resume, however. Whether you are just embellishing a little bit or telling a real whopper, it's never appropriate to misrepresent yourself to an employer.

Aside from the obvious reason that it's just not right to lie about something you know is wrong, stretching the truth about your employment history can come back to haunt you. Telling an organization that you are capable of doing something you are not can lead to a quick exit from the job when it is discovered you can't do the work. This is not only bad for you short-term, but can also impact your ability to get jobs in the future.

It's not good to embellish about anything, but here are some of the worst items to lie about in your resume:

  • Job Duration: It's better to address frequent turnover in employment rather than hide it by only listing the years you worked rather than the months. There are plenty of reasons that you might have had multiple jobs in a short period of time, and employers will appreciate your honesty.
  • Skills: There's nothing more embarrassing than claiming you are an expert at something only to have your co-workers find out you are far from that. Word of this kind of lie can spread pretty quickly around the industry, making it hard for you to get jobs in the future.
  • Education: If you didn't graduate for whatever reason, list the amount of credits you received and your class standing. Include a parenthetical note explaining why you didn't complete your degree.
  • Residence: Don't use your friend's address in Florida if there is absolutely no way you can get there by the next day for interview. This is only appropriate if you are staying at this person's house for the weekend and in that case, you need to mention that in your application.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Wanted: Director Of Development

Do you have a passion for fundraising? The St. Labre Indian Catholic School has a job that is perfect for all experienced fundraisers.

The Ashland, Montana-based organization is looking to hire a Director of Development to raise funds to meet its annual operating and capital budget and to allow additional investment in reserves through an integrated fundraising program.

In addition to this goal, the chosen candidate will have many other responsibilities:

  •  Develops and implements fundraising strategy that integrates direct mail, major gifts, planned gifts, charitable gift annuities, grants, corporate sponsorships, telemarketing, special events, capital campaigns, e-fundraising, Newsletters, social media, and other strategies and media as needed.
  • Sets priorities, goals and budgets; researching and identifying potential donors, cultivating new donors and communicating with current donors.
  •  Increase/maintain current active donor pool as instructed by Executive Director through retention of current donors and acquisition of new donors.
  • Prepares and administers annual department budgets.
  • Manage all aspects of the fundraising program including, but not limited to, the relationship with the consultants and vendors, the overall creative strategy, messaging, and appropriate photography consistent with usage policies in place.
In order to qualify for this position, applicants must have a Bachelor's Degree from a four-year college or university and a minimum of five years experience in fundraising or a related field. Must also have a valid Montana driver's licence.

Interested? Apply today on our career center.

You should also check out St. Labre's other featured job, an Executive Assistant to the CEO, which would be a great fit for those with less experience.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

4 Important Cover Letter Rules

The cover letter is arguably the most important aspect of your job application. While the resume gives the employer a basic idea of your skills and experience, the cover letter explains in detail why you should be seriously considered.

Because it is so important to your chances at getting a nonprofit job, it stands to reason that what you write can have a big impact on your chances. That's why you should never wait to write it until the last minute. Instead, you should plan out carefully what you want to say. Don't be afraid to constantly refine it until you get the message you want.

That is the first of four rules that you should follow when crafting your cover letter. Here are the other three:

  • Don't Rehash: One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make is simply rehashing what they already listed in their resumes. If you want to expand on a specific point, that's find, but you should really focus on giving specific reasons why you are best for the job.
  • Know The Norms: Speak to people in the nonprofit sector and see what hiring managers in that industry usually expect from applicant cover letters. What length do they want? Are there specific details they like to hear? All of this information can be key to meeting the needs of the employer.
  • Proofread, Proofread, Proofread: There's no such thing as too much proofreading with something this important. There's nothing more embarrassing than a few careless typos in the middle of an otherwise great cover letter. Try reading it out loud to make sure it sounds OK. This will also help you spot errors that you missed.

How To Save A Dead Job Search

Has your job search hit the skids? It happens to all job seekers at some point, but it doesn't mean you have to accept it.

It's easy to get frustrated when you go weeks or months without any response from employers. You probably get advice from friends and family telling you to just take a break from the search for a bit. While it can be helpful to take a quick breather, there are other steps you can take to bring your job search back from the dead.

It all starts with a self-assessment. Take a look at your skills and experience from the perspective of the employer. How do they match up with the organization's needs? If you find that you are lacking in some areas, think of some creative ways to fill those gaps. Do you have any non-traditional experience you can add to your resume?

Another part of your self-assessment should examine what job search methods you are using. Relying solely on online job boards or newspaper ads is not a great strategy, as they usually take the longest to bring in results. Make extensive use of your career network to enhance your applications, and consider directly contacting organizations you are interested in joining.

The final step you should take is to re-evaluate your resume and cover letter. These documents are key to communicating your worth to the organization, so you need to be sure you are communicating these points effectively. Answer the following questions:
  • Are you communicating your value to the employer by explaining how your unique skills will help the organization reach its goals?
  • Are you using concise sentences that leave no doubt to your meaning?
  • Are you including only relevant information so the employer isn't confused about your skills?
If you answer yes to these questions by the end of your evaluation, your resume and cover letter should be in good shape.

Resurrecting your job search isn't something that happens overnight. It will take some time and a lot of hard work. But if you follow the steps in this post, you should be able to turn frustration into success.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Education And Your Cover Letter

There's no doubt that graduating college is exciting and something to celebrate. As important as a diploma is, however, it's not the first thing that you should announce to an employer in your cover letter.

Nonprofits certainly value education like any other business. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to get a decent nonprofit job without a college degree. Having said this, where you went to school has no bearing on whether or not you get the job most of the time. You want to make sure that the hiring manager reading your cover letter is not left wondering why you didn't include more relevant details.

A lot of college graduates make the mistake of mentioning their recent graduation in the opening of their cover letter. Every sentence in this document is valuable, and you want to make sure you spend as much time as possible highlighting the skills that will really make you stand out among the competition. Remember, your educational history will be clearly stated in your resume, so there's no need to mention it again.

The only references to school you should make in your cover letter are relevant internships or jobs you obtained through it. It's also fair to bring up your major if it is applicable to the job for which you are applying. Otherwise, all mentions of education should be left in your resume. 

Wanted: Major Gifts Officer

Any experienced fundraiser will tell you that his/her ultimate goal is to secure the largest possible donations, known as major gifts. These are the lifeblood of any fundraising program, and now you have the chance to be responsible for these important gifts.

Planned Parenthood Health Systems (PPHS) in Charlotte, NC is looking to hire a Major Gifts Officer to identify, cultivate, and solicit prospects capable of making major gifts. This involves recommending and implementing strategies to find such individuals with an emphasis in selected sites that secure private funding for general operations, special campaign and restricted priorities.

Other responsibilities include:

  • Assisting the Vice President for Development in setting fundraising goals creating affiliate-wide strategic development plans, establishing fundraising systems to support the sustainability and expansion of PPHS, and engaging the Board of Directors.
  • Leading the planning and execution of major donor activities.
  • Managing a portfolio of major gift donors.
  • Advising the VP for Development when a donor is read to be further cultivated.    
  • Coordinating with the Director of Development to identify and cultivate major donors for the annual fund donor pool.
  • Ensuring effective and regular communications with donors.    
  • Maintaining donor database for assigned portfolio.
There are even more duties the Major Gifts Officer must undertake, but the above are the most important ones.

As you might imagine, this position requires significant experience in fundraising, particularly with major gifts. Here are the qualifications PPHS wants in a candidate:

  • Bachelor's degree in related field.
  • CFRE preferred.
  • Minimum of three years of progressive experience in fundraising development, with most recent experience in major gifts. Prefer demonstrated supervisory experience of volunteers and/or administrative staff.
  • Understanding of and commitment to PPHS’ goals and mission.
  • Strong organizational and communication skills.
  • Must be able to work independently, as part of a team and have strong team-building skills and ability to prioritize with minimal supervision.
  • Must be able to maintain confidentiality.
This nonprofit job presents a great opportunity for any experienced fundraiser. If you are interested in applying, head to our career center and get started on your application.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The NonProfit Times' 2012 Salary And Benefits Survey

Every year, The NonProfit Times and BlueWater Nonprofit Solutions team up for the the most comprehensive salary and benefits report in the sector. Last year's efforts resulted in the 2011 Salary and Benefits Report.

The deadline to complete the 2012 Salary and Benefits is June 15, only three days away. If you haven't already started yours, now is your chance to participate in the only survey for nonprofits that will provide you with the comprehensive information needed to make key hiring and employment decisions.  Plus, you’ll have access to information that can be used to save money on salary and benefit costs.

All participants will receive a free Executive Summary of the results with salary data for all positions.

So what will the 2012 Salary Survey help you do? Here are some of the advantages:
  • Make sound decisions on staff salaries and benefits. Give your board and managers the data they need.
  • Get current salary and bonus pay data on 300 + nonprofit jobs from entry-level to the executive office.
  • Check YES when the IRS asks you on your Form 990 if salaries for your chief executive and key employees were set using comparability data for similar positions.
  • Learn about 94 employee benefits - health insurance, retirement, and more.
  • Track changes and trends from 2011 to 2012 for ALL Salary & Benefits information. 
  • Get data by nonprofit field, budget size, number of employees, and region throughout the U.S.A. 
  • Discover what special benefits are being offered to 15 executive level positions.
  • Stay competitive.
You can read more about the survey by clicking here.

Four Tricks To Boost Your Online Job Search

Most experienced job seekers know all about the standard things they need to do to enhance their prospects. Whether it's customizing resumes for each job application or being prepared for interviews, these individuals know what it takes to succeed in the job search. But did you know there are some lesser-known tips that can make a big difference?

It goes without saying that a lot of job hunting is done online these days. As such, most of the tips you will find have to do with the Internet. It's no different from these new tricks I am about to share with you. If you are finding your normal techniques are not working, consider trying out these four techniques to enhance your prospects:

  • Answer LinkedIn Questions: There's a feature on LinkedIn that allows you to answer questions from other users. If your answers are rated highly enough, they will show up on the experts list. This will give your profile greater exposure, which in turn will grow your personal network.
  • Use Twitter: Many employers and job search engines utilize Twitter as a means to post new jobs. For example, The NonProfit Times has an account that posts the latest positions from the Nonprofit Job Seeker.
  • Search Employer Websites: Many employers will post their open positions on their own website in addition to third party job boards. Make sure to check out the pages of the nonprofits that you are most interested in joining.
  • Use Key Words In Your Resume: Strategically insert key words into your resume so that they will get past the automated systems many organizations use. If you aren't sure which words to use, read the job description. The key words that employers want to see will usually be sprinkled throughout it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Keeping Positive During The Job Search

Searching for a nonprofit job during these tough times can be a real test for your self esteem. If you are like most Americans, you spend day after day applying for jobs only to be rejected or -- even worse -- not hear back. How is one supposed to stay positive during the job search?

The first thing you need to realize is that this is a completely natural feeling. All job hunters will feel down at one point or another, it's just the nature of the beast. Therefore, the first step to keeping up your self esteem is to acknowledge there is to not blame yourself for this predicament. As long as you are doing all you can to get a job, there is no reason to think you are at fault.

Here are three other tips to get you back on a positive train of thought:

  • Stay Realistic: The nature of today's job market is very competitive. Acknowledging to yourself that it's going to be very tough to get the job of your dreams will help you become more relaxed, and will help erase those feelings of despair should you get a rejection letter.
  • Hang Out With Other Job Seekers: Meet regularly with friends who are also looking for work. You can use this time to share stories and blow off steam. It's much better to vocalize your frustrations with people in a similar situation than to internalize them.
  • Stay Active: The worst thing you can do when feeling down is to wait for others to contact you. Use LinkedIn to find out if you know anybody who has connections at the organization you wish to join. If you do, find out if they can give you a leg up on the competition.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

6 Outdated Job Search Rules

As times change so do conventions. Things that were commonplace 10 years ago are now obsolete. This is especially true when it comes to the job search.

There are many rules that are associated with the job search that, while true years ago, are now obsolete. Here are six of them that you should no longer follow when applying for work:

  • Limit your resume to one page. Two-page resumes are perfectly acceptable assuming you need that amount of room to list all of your credentials. You should still avoid them if the two pages are filled with mostly irrelevant information.
  • Write formally. It's actually not advisable to write in this kind of style. You don't want to be unprofessional sounding, but you also don't want to sound stiff.
  • Education comes first. Your college career is not going to be your best selling point for nonprofit jobs. Employers are much more interested in your relevant work/volunteer experience.
  • Call the employer to schedule an interview: Job seekers don't get to decide when an interview happens; the employer does. Doing this will make you come off as pushy and arrogant.
  • Arrive to the office early: It's actually a very good idea to arrive early to the area where your interview is, but don't go into the office early. There's a reason why you were given a specific time.
  • Include "references available upon request" at the end of your resume. This is an unnecessary addition to your resume. Employers these days assume you will provide references, so there is no need to mention this.
Not all of these outdated rules will disqualify you from a job, but they should still be avoided. What other old aspects of the job search do you find obsolete now? Let us know in the comments section below.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Featured Nonprofit Job: Family Teaching Couple

The opportunity to help improve the lives at-risk children is something that appeals to a lot of Americans. If you count yourself among that group, and are married, NPT Jobs has a job that is sure to appeal to you.

New York City-based Boys Town is looking for a couple that has been married for at least 1 year to become the organization's new Family Teaching Couple. After undergoing a two-week paid training session, the chosen candidates will live in the nonprofit's residential homes to create a family environment for children ranging from 10 to 18.

This is probably one of the more unique positions we have ever received. As such, you should be prepared for the challenges it will present. You and your spouse will be expected to change the lives of these kids for the better by providing counseling to them, and helping to meet their emotional, educational, and daily needs. You must be positive, energetic, and have a strong passion to help at-risk kids.

For such a demanding job, it shouldn't be surprising that there are very strict qualifications applicants must meet to be considered. Make sure you meet these requirements:
  • Must be at least 21 years of age, and married at least one year.
  • Must pocess valid driver's licenses, and pass a thorough backround check.
  • Must have a high school diploma.
If you want to learn more about this position, head on over to our career center. Best of luck to all applicants hoping to land this potentially exciting job!

Don't Judge A Job By Its Title

You're probably well aware of the expression "don't judge a book by its cover." It means that you shouldn't decide whether you like something before you try it. This same philosophy also applies to the job search.

What I mean is you shouldn't completely dismiss a job based on its title. A lot of job seekers are often put off or intimidated by the names of the positions they find online. Words like "senior" or "assistant" can paint preconceived notions of what the work will be like, and whether they are qualified. The first instinct in these instances would be to not waste any time and move on to the next position. This would be a mistake.

Just as you wouldn't judge a book by its cover you also shouldn't judge a job by its title. Before deciding you are too good/not good enough for the employment, take a look at the job description. The names given to positions are not always indicative of seniority. For example, HR policies can dictate that less impressive titles are not doled as often, leaving pretty important jobs with less than important names.

At the end of the day, the words at the top of the wanted aren't what is important -- it's the work you will be doing that matters.

Monday, June 4, 2012

When Employee Conflict Is Positive

Arguments in the office are usually considered a bad thing. It's hard to imagine any silver lining coming from tension between employees but, according to two Human Resources experts, conflict can actually be positive for an organization.

In "The Big Book of HR," Barbara Mitchell and Cornelia Gamlem clarify that while it is preferable to avoid conflicts in the workplace, there is a lot you can learn from them as long as the correct steps are taken. How a conflict is handled can go a long way to determining the effect on your employees' morale. The actions you take as a manger will ultimately play a role in whether a conflict ends up being negative or positive in the long run.

Mitchell and Gamlem wrote that a conflict is negative when:

  • Differences are not addressed;
  • Expectations are not managed;
  • Assumptions rather than facts are central to the disagreement; and,
  • The individuals involved or affected don’t want to be part of the solution.
You can avoid all of the issues that come with those mistakes by addressing the conflict in a positive manner. You do this by:
  • Respecting the value of the conflict and making sure differences are honored and respected;
  • Making sure issues are open and not masked;
  • Ensuring ideas and personalities are central; and,
  • Managing emotions and making sure points of view are expressed in a skillful and respectful manner.

Expanding Your Career Network Without Social Networks

It goes without saying that social networks are extremely popular these days. These sites are useful for catching up with old friends and -- most importantly for your job search -- making connections for your career. Yet as useful as sites like LinkedIn are, face-to-face networking still remains an effective tool.

One of the advantages of traditional career networking is the personal connection. You can learn a lot more about a person by seeing their mannerisms and hearing their voice than by communicating via e-mail. If you are one of those individuals that prefers the "old school" method of networking, here are four tips to help expand your connections:
  • Talk to your seat-mates on the train. You never know if that person sitting next to you could hold the key for your career. Making conversation with complete strangers isn't exactly easy, but it can be very valuable if you can do it.
  • Start volunteering. This is one of the best ways to build connections in the nonprofit sector. Becoming a volunteer almost guarantees you will meet someone who can be of help to you. It also doesn't look half-bad on your resume.
  • Sign up for an alumni newsletter. There's a very good chance you will learn about upcoming networking events, which will help you re-establish ties with old classmates or professors.
  • Join clubs. These don't have to necessarily be related to your job search. You are just as likely to find potential networking contacts at a chess club than job search related activities.
All of this is not to say you should completely abandon online networking. On the contrary, you should continue to use it to enhance your job search. Just don't make the mistake of thinking that a social networking site is the ultimate answer for all your problems.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Featured Nonprofit Job: Controller

Family Life Communications, a nonprofit Christian organization based in Tuscon, Ariz., is looking to hire a Controller to handle the financial activities of the organization.

Working with both the Executive Leadership Team and the Board of Directors, the accepted applicant will ensure the financial health of the ministry and its entities by directing and overseeing all activities. This includes preparation of current financial reports and summaries as well as forecasting for future business growth.

Please make sure you meet the following qualifications before applying:

  • Bachelor’s in Finance/Accounting (or in Business with an emphasis in Accounting.
  • Three years experience in a controller role and having worked with budgets of $10m or greater.
  • Experience using and/or assisting in the selection and implementation of fully integrated accounting systems.
  • Excellent cash management skills with a working knowledge of non-profit accounting rules including FASB and GAAP procedures.
  • CPA designation and non-profit and/or public accounting experience highly preferred.
Don't live in Arizona? Not a problem -- Family Life Communications will pay for relocation costs. If all of this interests you, head on over to our career center and apply today!