More people than ever want to work at jobs that will change the world. Not since the 1960s do we have so many idealists walking our streets. From recent college graduates to retirees launching new careers, would-be "do-gooders" are plentiful, and "do-gooding" is actually in vogue.
But the competition is keen. The recession sent even more people flocking to the nonprofit world. Gone are the days when nonprofit employment was only a fall-back position. Today the best and the brightest are lining up.
Here are three ways to make your resume stand out when you go calling on the organizations that are making a difference.
Highlight Your Volunteer Work.
If you are serious about making a career in the nonprofit world, make sure that you have done volunteer work. If you are a new graduate, or are about to graduate, look into doing a stint in national service. There are many opportunities to do significant volunteer work (some of these opportunities include a stipend of some kind). Prowl the possibilities with our list of online sites where you can find information on volunteer opportunities. Showcase your volunteer work on your resume and on your social network profiles.
Emphasize Your Experience in Wearing Multiple Hats.
Set up your resume to highlight your flexibility. Nonprofit jobs are known for requiring their employees to move easily between different tasks. The smaller the nonprofit, the more you will be required to fill multiple roles. Unlike large corporations, which tend to highly specialize their employees, a nonprofit needs people with many talents and the grace to do many kinds of things, sometimes daily.
Get Rid of Corporate Language and Jargon.
Do not fill your resume with corporate speak. You do not have to show off your technical vocabulary or your management seminar language. Nonprofit managers want to be able to understand at a glance what you've done. Use language that any layperson can understand. Most people in nonprofit positions value down-to-earth employees who can explain themselves in a way that even their neighbor, cousin, or grandmother would understand.
In your nonprofit work, you will deal with people from all kinds of backgrounds and socioeconomic backgrounds. Do not try to impress nonprofit hiring managers with fancy language or words that only an MBA could love. Make sure you are not using jargon from your former industry or graduate seminars. Have your friends who work in nonprofit take a look at your resume and give you feedback.