Tips for your charity fundraising job search

Published: 12 Dec 2013 By Morgan Hunt

If you’re looking to progress your career in fundraising, it’s vital that you adopt the right strategy for your job search to maximise your chance of success.

To help ensure you’re on the right track, here are some handy tips.

Determine your career goals and preferences for your next role
•    Decide what your long-term career goals are:
o    Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years’ time? Do you see yourself working for a well established international organisation, specialising in a particular fundraising function; or perhaps you’d prefer to work for a small, lesser known charity, heading up the fundraising division to develop and establish the brand?
o    How will you work towards that goal as you progress your career - what path do you need to take and what experience will you need to gain to get there?
•    Make your search as targeted as possible and consider your job preferences:
o    Think about the size and type of charity you want to work for;
o    Pull together a list of charities (5-10 at the most) in which you would want to progress your career;
o    Do some research on what type of fundraising role/function would best suit you and your career goals?
•    The key is to be specific - but also realistic - when setting your preferences for your next job.

Maintain an up-to-date CV

•    You should aim to review your CV at least every 2 months, ensuring that you add any new skills, experience and achievements as appropriate, as well as any volunteer/charity work performed outside of work;
•    Register your CV on specialist charity job boards (such as Third Sector Jobs) and set up job alerts specific to your search;
•    Make sure your CV is publicly visible via these sites if you are openly job seeking.

Enhance your online profile
•    Maintaining your online profile and enhancing your online brand should be a key part of your job search;
•    Manage and conduct regular spot checks of all your social media profiles to ensure you maintain a professional, positive presence;
•    Don’t be overly ambitious – adopt a targeted approach to job applications
•    Don’t waste precious time applying for jobs you are not qualified for – be realistic about your career level;
•    Analyse the job description and essential requirements of the role and assess whether or not your skills and experience are a good match before applying.

Adapt your CV and cover letter to the role
•    Job applications can be a lengthy process, so it’s important to get it right;
•    Tailor your CV and cover letter (or supporting statement) to the job and the charity;
o    Highlight relevant experience and key achievements high up on your CV so that the hiring manager is able to see this information clearly;
o    Do your research on the charity to which you are applying and emphasise your passion for the cause, your career ambitions and how you would ‘fit’ the culture of the charity.

Get on the radar of your employers of choice
•    This will demonstrate your desire to work for the charity and will put you on their radar to be considered for current and future opportunities.

Ask for feedback on unsuccessful applications and interviews
•    Always ask the recruiter or employer for feedback if you have interviewed for a particular role and were unsuccessful as this will help you hone your interview skills and technique;
•    If you have applied for a role that you feel matched very closely with your skills and experience but were not shortlisted for interview, don’t be afraid to ask the recruiter or HR contact/hiring manager for feedback on why you were unsuccessful.

Regularly evaluate your progress and review your job search.

Article by Morgan Hunt recruitment.

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