Wednesday, April 22, 2009

So I didn't get the job -- what I'd do differently next time

Change.org is launching a new initiative on its site to provide information about jobs for change. I met the founder when I was working for Aspiration. As part of the jobs for change initiative the Change.org team was looking to hire a group of career guide bloggers (part-time). I decided to apply for a career guide blogger position since it fit well with my nonprofit workforce and nonprofit career interests.

The application and interview process were right in the middle of my mid-terms. I also have to admit I didn't take the time to prepare for this interview or make myself a standout candidate like I usually do. I really think that had an impact on not getting the job. I'm a little disappointed, but I'm always looking for ways to improve so I thought to myself what could I have done differently?

Here's what I would have done differently next time.

1) I would have sent them a handwritten thank you note after the interview. (I've done this in the past and it really ads a personal touch)

2) I would have launched this blog series: Looking for a nonprofit job and my first post would have been:

Looking for a Nonprofit Job? How I learned to market my skills in the nonprofit sector.

"During my career I’ve had the opportunity to work in the career services department at my undergraduate institution and work with a nonprofit recruiter. These experiences taught me how to improve my resume, and market myself better during the interview process as a result get the jobs I want—like this one.

If you are trying to change jobs or just getting into the nonprofit sector, here’s what I’ve learned.

1. Resumes are more effective when they show specific examples of completed tasks AND organizational improvement results based on the completed tasks, for example:

  • TASK: Engaged in strategic technology planning and budget process, overhauling website for RESULT: improved donor cultivation.
  • TASK: Coordinated annual direct mail appeal and quarterly mailings, employing bulk mail process for RESULT: cost savings.

2. Organizations that you interview with like to hear specific examples of HOW you are good at what you do!

I’ve been on both sides of the interview process, but as an HR person I’m always looking for the candidate to give specific examples about how they improved their organizations. Also, I want those examples to relate back to the position I am trying to fill.

Many times there is an interview question like "What are your strengths?" Don’t just answer, "I am very organized." The candidate should say why they are organized and how they improved the organization, like this:

  • One of my strengths is that I am organized, I recently completed a project where I improved the organization’s media tracking and posting system, which resulted in revitalizing our communications efforts.
For more tips like these, check this enewsletter: Making Changes written by Laura Gassner Otting of the Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group. She’s also the nonprofit recruiter I used to work with."

This was originally posted on my nonprofit operations blog while I was working at Aspiration

3) I would have asked my readers, if you like this post please e-mail .... at change dot org and tell them you think I should be a career guide blogger.

The important thing is when you're applying for a job you must standout and do things above and beyond the other applicants. This time I did not.

1 comment:

Eva G. said...

Thanks! It is good to get these reminders especially the one "make yourself stand-out". I had not really thought about it that I am in control of that!