Resumes and Branding for Nonprofit Professionals

Finding a job can be a tough process. Whether you are a student or a seasoned professional, there is no exception and the nonprofit sector feels the same struggles.

Last month the Young Nonprofit Professional Network of St. Louis wanted to provide a job search workshop series to help prepare all individuals with a passion for nonprofits. As a member of the board and marketing committee I volunteered to share my knowledge on resumes and branding for two sessions. I have experience in both subjects and knew that this would be a great opportunity to teach others.

We started pounding the pavement with a small presentation on creative resumes. I wanted to convince a non-creative (not to be taken offensively) crowd, that a Times New Roman, Word template was not the only way to put your best foot forward. Being professional should not sacrifice showing your personality and vice versa, especially when trying to make an impression.

You can have the best of both words, creative and professional. Just remember these tips:

  • Readability > creativity
  • Use unique formatting
  • Go outside the word template, get inspiration on Pinterest (browse my design board)
  • Don’t be scared of having more than one resume to send out

We walked through simple black and white examples all the way to a professional illustrators’ masterpiece. I then prompted them to put this advice to good use. Explaining how to start sketching new ideas in an easy way. You can view the entire presentation below:

The next week I started off the personal branding session with a modified version of the AAF-KC program Brand Yo’Self that I presented with AdInk. I spent time transforming the original presentation into a how-to guide in branding. To start, I provided an easy exercise to formulating a personal brand:

  • Think about yourself
    • What do you want people to know about you?
    • What would you first say to someone when meeting a new person?
    • What graphical elements or other things represent you?
  • You can’t be wrong. It’s about you!

After, we discussed how to take these notes and create a logo or at least a sketch of one. Adding a tagline and using those two elements throughout the job search process for:

  • Business cards
  • Resumes
  • Portfolio, websites and/or Blog
  • Social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter)

Finally, I stressed the importance of having a consistent online site or page to provide a place for employers to learn more about you. I encouraged each person to start a website, portfolio or blog. This is highly supported in the job hiring community and great advice for any student. Learn how to get started and what tools to use in my presentation below:

In the end, I offered my freelance services for any help down the road and even set up a few coffee consultations to speak more individually. Resumes are fun for me, critiquing and redesigning and branding is one of my favorite parts of design. This opportunity really allowed me to share my expertise with a different audience and I grateful for the chance to let my inner design nerd shine.

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