4 Skills to Highlight When Applying for Non-Profit Jobs

24 October 2018 Reading Time: 3 minutes

The initial impact of a resume is important. But chances are you’ve got lots to say and not a lot of space to say it. When you’re researching how to optimize your resume for the job hunt, you’re spoiled with a diverse array of expert opinions and easy-to-follow guides. But what if you’re thinking about shifting into a niche or specialized sector like non-profit jobs?

Truth be told, a charity resume doesn’t function the same way as a resume for a private sector position. Sure, you’ll need to include past job experience and highlight your skills, but even more than that you need to emphasize skills that underscore your humane side and answer the glaring question: why do you want to work for THIS charity?

To help you start, we’ve highlighted the top four skills important for non-profit jobs. Take a look.

1. The desire to make a difference

Call it drive. Call it passion. Call it enthusiasm. No matter what you call it, it’s absolutely vital to demonstrate a clear-cut sense of motivation and a personal connection with the cause. In the non-profit sector, organizations want to know they’re hiring employees that really care about their mission and are likely to stick around for a while.

It’s especially important if you’re changing your career. And it doesn’t have to be all about business – maybe you ran a side project in your spare time or took part in a marathon for charity. This can be demonstrated through any work you did volunteering, fundraising, campaigning or getting active in local politics.

The best part? Being encouraged to showcase your passion allows you the space to inject a bit of personality and let the recruiter see a more human side of you.

2. A think-outside-the-box approach

The way people donate is changing, and charities need to be constantly adapting and innovating. More than half of the population prefers to visit sites on their phones than on desktops. In fact, mobile-responsive donation sites receive 34% more donations than traditional desktop sites because the process is fast, simple and can be done during your lunch break or on your evening commute.

That’s why charity recruiters are always on the hunt for creative thinkers and idea generators. When faced with new trends or sudden problems, it’s the original ideas that help move an organization forward. And it’s not just fundraising ideas. Did you provide new ways of cutting costs at your old job? Or maybe you came up with a way to streamline office communication. This is important in every part of a charity. So if you can demonstrate that you’re forward-thinking and can help find ways to do things better or save money, you’ll be a strong asset for the team.

3. Empathy and sensitivity in communication

Most businesses are looking for people with good communication skills. But for non-profit jobs they need people who are not only great communicators but can also demonstrate empathy and sensitivity. Whether you’re fundraising, running a help-line or working face-to-face with the public, it’s important to always come across as warm and sincere.

In non-profit jobs where you’re working directly with the public, good communication hinders on your ability to speak clearly and calmly during difficult or emotionally-charged situations. Most importantly, you want to make sure you’re helping and not harming vulnerable people who come to your organization for help.

4. Teamwork & Flexibility

More than just getting along with your colleagues, teamwork in the charity sector is about two things. Being willing to work beyond the specifications of your own role and give other members of the organization a hand. During busy times, everyone should to pitch in – no one wants a ‘jobsworth’ who isn’t willing to help out because it’s not technically their responsibility.

For this reason flexibility is such a valuable skill to demonstrate on your resume. Not every role in non-profit adheres to standard 9-to-5 working hours. In fact, the work-life balance is one of the things that draws candidates to the sector. You’re more likely to find part-time or flexible hours. But the flip side is that you may sometimes need to work on weekends and evenings for events or during busy campaigns. A can-do attitude can go a long way.

Of course, we can’t ignore important transferable skills like time management, organization, and work ethic. But it’s worthwhile to spend a bit more time making sure your passion, creativity, empathy and flexibility shine. If you’re making the shift into the sector, there’s always room to grow and develop (and hiring managers know that). In this case, passion trumps a perfect skill set, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and find your dream non-profit job.

This content was provided by CharityJob, the largest and most specialized job board for the charity and not-for-profit sector in the UK.

Tatiana Rehmova

A glass half-full kind of a girl and a believer that everything happens for a reason. Loves writing, editing and researching the newest ways of doing things.

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