Thank you for your interest in our firm and clients. Submitted resumes and other information will be maintained in confidence. Such information enables us to think about your interests as we serve nonprofits and nonprofit leaders, so please provide whatever information you think would be useful.
We are part of a nonprofit-business-government support ecosystem. As we support nonprofits in their search for new leaders, others support us through nominations and recommendations, and we return the favor by sharing sector intelligence and acting as an advocate for mission-driven clients. Members of our network should never hesitate to call upon us at need.
We have provided for your consideration guidelines that have been developed in collaboration with boards, search committees and hiring executives. Please adopt whatever points you find useful as you develop your materials.
Some search firms reformat and enhance candidate resumes so that they follow one generic standard and that is what their clients see. Our clients, in contrast, generally favor seeing the original resume provided by each nonprofit executive. Upon request we freely support senior executives as they shape their material so that it is easy to navigate and presents clearly the full range of each leader’s experience in the terms that they favor.
We are very respectful of each individual’s style and personal preferences, and honor each person’s wishes as we help them to document and present their qualifications and experiences to clients. Our search teams provide clients and candidates with context, depth, insight and analysis, and in some cases we appropriately question preconceived notions. Our responsibility is to ensure that clients and candidates can reach decisions based on the most complete information available. Resumes that are clear and provide a comprehensive insight into a person’s experiences and competencies are helpful.
The points below are the result of feedback received from nonprofit boards and executives in the course of our many engagements. Please use whatever you feel would be of benefit.
- Resumes and CVs are designed to highlight experience, competencies, scale (headcount, budget, revenue, number people served) and transformations (the difference between what was found and what was changed through a particular tenure). They should have sufficient detail to evoke interest and ideally they should help entice boards and executives to request an interview.
- We advise candidates that they may want to consider using a cover letter to discuss personal details and passions, interesting facts that pertain to a specific opportunity, and narratives of what the leader might accomplish. Cover letters are not absolutely necessary, but some individuals find them to be useful. Personal narratives in resumes and CVs should be avoided.
- Boards and other clients seem to more easily navigate resumes that outline experience in reverse chronological order.
- Numbers and facts are important, including number of people managed, budgets, amount of contributed revenue raised or earned income generated. We suggest including numbers where appropriate, and to only include percentage change (increased budgets, tickets sold, funds raised, etc.) when the real numbers are also included.
- One should never assume that information omitted from a resume will be known. It is important to be accurate, to not hide accomplishments or give short shrift to parts of a career history.
- We advise using active verbs when applicable, ensuring that the word describes what really transpired. “Managed”, “implemented”, “drove”, “developed”, “designed” are examples of active verbs. It is not necessary to provide every point in narrative form or even in whole sentences – bullet points are generally fine and often preferred.
- It might seem like an obvious point, but we strongly recommend reviewing the resume for readability by having someone else review it for consistency, spelling and such. We recommend against multiple fonts in a single resume and advise consistent use of bold, italics, underlining, font size and line spacing.
- We suggest separating professional employment, education, volunteer activities, honors, publications and speeches, exhibitions, performances, etc. into separate sections. Certain nonprofit sectors require extensive listing of exhibitions, publications, performances, and the like. For the sake of convenience and easy updating, this material could be provided in a separate document.
We hope this is helpful.
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