If you currently work for a corporation, but have always wanted to work for a non-profit instead, now may be the time to make your move.
Before you go looking for positions on a non-profit job board, however, there are a few things you will need to know about transferring your work experience from a company to a non-profit, and how to make a non-profit see you are the right person for the job.
Learn everything you can about non-profits — Before you send out a single resume, be sure you understand what a non-profit is, how it works, where it gets its money, and how an organization becomes a 501 (c) 3 company.
Download ebooks about non-profit work from your usual ebook seller, and learn everything you can about them. After all, once you do begin to submit resumes, you want to be sure you use the right language, and you know exactly how the organization you are applying to operates.
Write down all your experience and apply it — Once you understand more about non-profits, you will understand how different they are from companies.
That means you will also understand what type of experience can be useful in a non-profit organization. Write down all the experience you have that fits into what may be appropriate, and then re-write your resume so that it incorporates it all.
Emphasize any volunteering you have done — While not every non-profit prefers to hire people that have already worked in one, most do prefer to hire someone that has at least done volunteer work with one.
If you have not volunteered with a non-profit before, now is the time to get a volunteer job for a few months. If you have, be sure that is emphasized both on your resume and in your cover letter, as well as in any interviews you are given.
Learn about the turn-over rate — Be absolutely sure you want to work for a non-profit before you begin sending out resumes.
The turn-over rate in non-profits is often much higher than in corporations, as their employees get burnt out so quickly. After all, it can be a very stressful environment. Especially if you are working for a non-profit with low funds, or one offering services to at-risk clients.
Cultivate your people skills — People skills are more important than just about anything else in the non-profit world. That means, where you may be able to get away with a less personable personality in a company that is not likely to happen in a non-profit.
That is why, if your people skills are not very good, it is important to work on them until they are. A person with exceptionally good people skills is far more likely to be given a job in a non-profit than in a traditional company.
Relationship building skills are the most important thing so, if you have them already, emphasize that when you are interviewed. If you do not, do everything you can to learn them as they will be put to good use should you be hired.