New Year, New Opportunities
It’s difficult to write an article about resumes and interviewing skills without recognizing that many grants management professionals are beginning 2010 with fresh memories of the recent economic turmoil, staff reductions, or perhaps even the loss of their own position. Yet, the New Year can also mean new beginnings -- as the economy begins to show signs of life and foundation endowment recovery begins to take hold, new employment opportunities are beginning to emerge. As we all take stock of our current situation, and look to the year ahead, it’s the perfect time to revisit the critical components of any job search—resume-building techniques, current trends in language and design, pitfalls to avoid, and interviewing best practices to help you communicate your unique skills and experience.
Thankfully, there are a number of online tools and resources ready to be tapped.
Bridgestar (http://www.bridgestar.org) is a valuable resource, providing a job board, content, and tools for nonprofit professionals. The organization is an initiative of the Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping other nonprofit and philanthropic leaders make strategic decisions and also help build organizations that inspire and accelerate social change.
Bridgestar’s extensive online library includes reports on resume-building and interviewing skills, and emphasizes that job seekers must focus on both components for a successful search. The article, Writing Effective Resumes and Cover Letters: Q & A with Jane Albert, provides an executive recruiter’s insights on the importance of visual appeal, the arrangement of information, and when to tailor your resume to highlight specific skill-sets or experiences. For example, Albert cites a preference for resumes organized in reverse chronological order. This provides a sense of an individual’s career track record and accomplishments. A resume organized into functional categories can cloud this career progression, which recruiters use as a key factor in determining a candidate’s fit for the position. Albert also discusses the importance of well-written cover letters, and some major mistakes to avoid.
Another piece, What Nonprofit Employers are Looking for Today, highlights the need to go back to basics in the interviewing process. It is important to be clear about your strengths and achievements, and to provide specific examples of past successes, and what you can bring to the organization. Informational interviews can also be useful to practice your interviewing skills or to learn more about opportunities in new areas or sectors. Whether you are interviewing for an open position or learning more about a particular industry, preparation is critical. The interview should help the organization understand how your knowledge and expertise will advance its mission.
Finally, there is another resource already at your fingertips – GMN! The GMN Resource Library, which is part of the Online Community, includes the 2009 GMN Salary and Benefits Report, and Staffing Grants Management: Defining the Standards for Philanthropy, to arm you with even more information as you explore new options. Your fellow GMN members are another set of experts, colleagues, and peers who can provide networking opportunities, information about new job openings, and years of their own experience in resumes and interviewing strategies. With access to all of this information, may the New Year bring many new successes your way.
2010 Conference Preview
The GMN Examiner Editorial Team
The GMN Examiner is published three times a year through the dedicated efforts of GMN members and volunteers.
Ericka Novotny – Editor
Allison Gister – Associate Editor