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Manager of Human Resources
Finding gainful employment in the nonprofit arena is different than landing a job in other industries. At nonprofit interviews, your employer needs to distinguish your job credentials beyond a simple skill set – they need to recognize both your professional potential and your passion for the cause.
If you’re a nonprofit job candidate considering a career change or an NPO major who’s apprehensive of graduating, take these three steps toward landing a job you’ll love.
Laura Gassner Otting, author of Change Your Career – Transitioning to the Non-Profit Sector, nonprofit leaders manage “up, down, and sideways.” Staff must have the ability to juggle the accessibility and needs of donors, partners, coworkers, community members and volunteers – all while delegating responsibility, commanding authority, and exhibiting empathy.
Cultivate and articulate your tech skills
In this down economy, most nonprofits are pinching every penny possible to stay afloat. Almost all nonprofit workers wear many hats in their all-inclusive positions, because downtime just isn’t in the budget anymore. And sure, a new mobile app would be absolutely amazing, but many nonprofits simply cannot afford it. So if you are a job candidate who’s also a tech guru, welcome to the front lines of ideal candidacy. In the months before the interview, try your hand at Final Cut Pro or figure out the backend of Drupal and WordPress – you won’t believe how quickly it will pay off.
Most importantly, be true to your goals and ethics throughout the job search. Dedicate your time and efforts to the issues you truly care about, because genuine personal interest is the most valuable quality a nonprofit worker can have. As Gassner Otting writes:
Working for a non-profit is like starting a marathon. You have to be committed long-term, even when the finish line is out of sight. The need of those served can be seemingly endless, and you will have to do more for them with less, while still satisfying your many, varied constituents. A track record of dedication to the cause or constituency demonstrates an authentic commitment, and this commitment shows your future nonprofit employer that you will take their marathon seriously.
Good luck with your search!
As GPEC's manager of Human Resources, Miner works as a strategic partner in maintaining employee relationships. She is responsible for recruiting, hiring, orientation and training, maintenance of employee documentation, employee development, benefit and payroll processing, and oversight of employee enrichment programs. Miner grew up in Las Cruces, N.M., where she studied education and psychology at New Mexico State University. She has resided in Arizona since 1995 and has raised three children with her husband Tom.
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Read Maureen Baker's "The intangible rewards of nonprofit work."