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How to Get your Resume Ready for a Career Change

Hi hi!

Are you redoing your resume right now? Editing your C.V.? Looking to get paid more and go somewhere where you can learn and be nurtured to LEAD? WHAT FUN!

Let’s work on it together.

So first, don’t do the summary paragraph. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Tip 1: Broader Skills first.You’re definitely switching organizations, sometimes industries, and for sure titles, SO figure out what qualities you will need in your ideal role. These can be known as Broad Skills. And they can go at the top.

SO, Put your skills in the top.

  • Leadership. Are you looking for a director role, but not sure if you have enough experience? Well, Do you sit on a board? Or an advisory board? Or an executive committee? Put that under leadership. Have you ever held an elected position? Are you even a person who has maybe started a nonprofit? That’s leadership!
  • Management. So, you don’t think you have enough management experience. Maybe you don’t. But it’s something you can learn. Is there a class you could take in management to bone up your management skills? Also, Did you manage interns? Volunteers? Put that on there too under management.
  • Communications.  Does the title of Communications Director draw you? Are you a communications guru, but it’s never been your job title? Never fear! Have you written a newsletter? Or a press release? Have you ever edited or updated a website? Are you an expert blogger, or maybe a person who has designed an annual report or two? BOOM. This is where this goes.
  • Operations. Do you want to be Chief Operating Officer? If so, what sort of operations skills do you have? Have you managed logistics for special events? Done buying for office management? Even helped the IT integration flow smoothly? THIS is where you put this. YES!

Tip 2: Try the Mixed format. This means Functional style resume on the first page and then chronological format on the second page.

Tip 3: Natural alignments. Make sure whatever matters most to the person evaluating you for this new role is at the TOP of your job description.

So, for example, let’s say you have a bulleted list that looks like this on your resume:

Development Director, Peace Earth Fund

  • Raised $50,000 in annual fund donations
  • Directed two events
  • Secured $100,000 in sponsorships
  • Major Gifts facilitated: $60K over 2 years from 4 donors

AND now you are applying for a major gifts job. You want to put the major gifts bullet at the top of the list.

If this is honest, you can also add to your title, “Development Director (with special emphasis on major gifts).”  So now it looks like this:

Development Director, (with special emphasis on major gifts) Peace Earth Fund

  • Major Gifts facilitated: $60K over 2 years from 4 donors
  • Raised $50,000 in annual fund donations
  • Directed two events
  • Secured $100,000 in sponsorships

If you can, add any more useful details about the major gifts piece, OR some relevant education you got with that.

BONUS tips!

Tip 4: Do not add the date you graduated from college. People have all sorts of reasons to discriminate against you. Don’t give them age as one reason.

Tip 5: Use key words directly from the job description and put them in the resume. They use machines that scan for this, and they will most likely discard your resume if it doesn’t include these.

Tip 6: You’re getting judged by your email address. Do not have your gmail address be something like “hotgirl69” because you are totally going to get judged on that. Make a new account that sounds more like your name, for business purposes.

Tip 7: You’re considered unemployable if you’ve been unemployed for over 6 months. So for heavens sake, start volunteering, to pad out your resume so that you look like you’re keeping busy during this time. Sit on a board, do what you have to do, but don’t have blank spots over 6 months on your resume.

Now. Who you know really matters more than what’s on your resume. So, if at all possible, try to get to know someone at the place you’re looking to work. These sector switching resume hints will not work for everyone! I should mention that if you want a federal job, all of this is different. There are books out there on how to get government and federal jobs, and they will tell you how to structure your resume for those roles.

Want to learn more about resumes and cover letters?

If you want 65 more fundraising career resources, just go here.

If you want 99 more nonprofit leadership resources, click on over here.

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