|The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently reported that almost 1 million nonprofit jobs have been lost since February. Art, entertainment and recreation lost the most with a 35% drop followed by education, then social services and finally healthcare. If you have found yourself in this situation you may be one of many applying for nonprofit jobs that are truly few and far between.|
Ashley|Rountree and Associates helps nonprofits conduct searches. Face it, interviewing is not easy and especially now when almost all interviews are conducted via Zoom. Trying to build a rapport with your audience in a video call is not easy. In this week’s edition of our newsletter, we will focus on those interviewing for a job. Our next newsletter will focus on the organizations recruiting for a position.
If you are one of the many people searching for a job, take heed! Below are some action steps to take on your employment journey:
Phase I – Research and Networking
Before you begin the process, ask yourself what types of organizations can I be passionate about? Do I want to work for a large nonprofit or a smaller one? (Think big fish in little pond or vice versa.) Is there a particular role that may be a leap but with some further education might be attainable? If so, invest in yourself!
Once you have answered these question research the organization(s) to which you are applying. Scour the 990s, annual reports and their website to learn more about who they are and the impact they are having. Network! Talk to people who may volunteer with the organization. Volunteers not only know about the organization but can give background on how the organization works with them.
Phase II – Applying
Write a cover letter unless the organization has specifically said not to send one. Cover letters allow you to expand on your resume and cater it to the organization. It shows the organization that you care and took the time to craft a well-thought response to their posting. This is your opportunity to highlight a particular reference in the job posting or something you learned during the research phase. And by all means do not rely on spell check. Have someone else proof your letter and resume.
Phase III – The Interview
Once you get the interview – don’t stop doing investigative work. Ask who will be on the call or at the meeting and their title or affiliation with the organization. Do your research on those individuals. Be prepared to tell your story in one minute and the why you are applying in two minutes. If you are doing the interview via video conferencing, look directly into the camera as much as possible as you answer questions. Take notes – be interested in what the interviewers or search committee is saying. Eliminate negative words and use positive verbs like “built, collaborated, created, designed.” Smile and react positively to questions.
When given the opportunity to ask questions, ASK! Consider your questions prior to the interview and write them down. It is not in good form to ask questions about salary or number of vacation days in the interview. Ask the employee or board member what he/she enjoys about working or serving at the organization. Inquire about board involvement; ask about impact and how the community is served. The questions are endless and should be planned ahead. Near the conclusion of the interview in final statements, give a one-minute recap of why you would be good employee for the organization and ask for the job.
Phase IV – The Follow-up
Following your interview, we recommend a personal, hand-written letter to the head of the search committee or the hiring manager. If that is not feasible, send an email but no later than one day following the interview. Don’t just thank the person for the interview but relate an aspect about the interview that you want to highlight.
Job searching is not an easy task – and many might call it a job. But spending time in the research and networking phase will be worth it! Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We have represented many organizations and can give insight into the nonprofit industry.
Our next newsletter will focus on recruitment for organizations. In the meantime, check out the refresh of our website here.