Hi everyone! I’m Caitie Deranek Stewart, the newest member of the YNPNindy Board, proud IU School of Medicine fundraiser, nonprofit enthusiast, and philanthropy/nonprofit management student at IU. I’ve been on the Board for all of a month but have already had a great time and my regard for YNPNindy’s work continues to grow.
Events like last month’s “Knowing Your Worth,” generously hosted by the IUPUI University Library, confirm my thoughts that this organization is somewhere where everybody in the Central Indiana nonprofit community should be involved. The panel was really interesting and had some great tips and the audience asked questions that helped push the conversation even further. Conversations ranged from the nitty-gritty of prepping a resume and cover letter to how to leverage experience you have to be better compensated.
What, you might ask, were my favorite takeaways? Here are a few of my favorite things (please tell me I’m not the only one who immediately went to the Sound of Music here) ...
- There are things you can be doing right now to prepare you for your next career move whether you’re actively looking for a job or not. Kathy Koehler, President of Koehler Associates, said it best – track your successes, no matter how small, and be prepared to talk about how you are already contributing to the organization’s mission. If you can demonstrate your impact, you are so much more likely to be prepared to explain why you deserve or raise or why you are the best candidate for that promotion. Take on new projects and come up with fresh solutions to pressing problems – these are the type of skills that can translate no matter where you are.
- Pay attention to the little things. A typo on a resume. Sending something to Mr. Smith instead of Mrs. Smith. Forgetting to change the job title you include in your standard cover letter. Lee Ernst, Associate at Johnson Grossnickle and Associates, shared about what happens when you make these mistakes – you don’t get the job! These little things make all the difference. In a competitive nonprofit job market, make sure you don’t get tossed from consideration because of things you can absolutely control. Spell things right, proofread (or ask somebody else to proofread for you), and customize whenever humanly possible.
- Know why you are the best candidate and make that unmistakable to the people doing the decision making. Why would someone hire you if you can’t honestly say to yourself that you are an awesome candidate? The truth is, even if you aren’t an exact fit to the job description, if you can explain why you would still be amazing at it, you’ve got a much better chance of getting that call. Trying to transition sectors? Same story – ID what translates and emphasize that.
- The more you know, the better you negotiate. Bryan Orander, President of Charitable Advisors, had some outstanding advice on how to make a job offer what you want it to be. He suggested checking out local resources on nonprofit pay so you don’t undersell or oversell yourself when asked that dreaded question – “What is your salary range?” Does your potential new employer have absolutely no wiggle room on its salary figure? Okay, that’s no fun, but Koehler and Ernst had great suggestions – perhaps they could offer professional development funds or incentive pay if certain goals are reached. Think outside the box, y’all!
Wrap all this wisdom and more up, add a fun networking game, and mix in some great people and you’ve got a sense of the awesomeness that happened at this event. Sorry you missed it? Don’t despair! YNPNindy already has fun ideas cooking for our next professional development event on May 20th. Stay tuned for more!